A descriptive study of the impact of a high school alternative learning environment on post high school lives of a group of resistant learners

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Phillips, Gary Lee, 1939-
Pole, E. John
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Thesis (D. Ed.)
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This descriptive study was conducted to determine the impact of a high school alternative post high school adjustment to life learners. The alternative learning environment on the of a group of resistant environment, Pontoon III, was a school-within-a-school located at Marion High School, Marion, Indiana. The study was conducted five years after the resistant learners entered the alternative learning environment.The data were secured by interviewing fifty-seven student participants using structured interview items to determine student judgments in response to three research questions.All fifty-seven students were enrolled in the Pontoon III Alternative Program in September, 1972. The student participants in the study were categorized into two groups: long-termers, those students spending two or more years in the alternative learning environment and short-termers, or those students spending one year or loss in the alternative school environment. The interview responses of the two student groups were compared reporting frequency and per cent of responses to structured interview items, Chi Square Analysis, and narrative comments of student participants.Both student groups (long-termer and short-termer) reported favorably on the impact of the Pontoon III Program on their lives since high school. However, the short-termer group was most influenced in the affective areas of efficacy, interpersonal relationships, and self-concept; while the long-termer group reported cognitive impact as priorities, specifically, reading, writing, and math abilities, but also describing affective impact in efficacy, self-concept, and relationships. Significant difference in favor of the long-termer group was found between the two groups (P = .001) in the nine impact areas: Reading-Writing Skills, Math Skills, Self-Concept, Efficacy, Relationships, Coping Skills, Success versus Failure, Job Satisfaction, and Impact on Pontoon III Program.There was also a difference in high school graduation for the two groups (long-termers, 90% and short-termers, 0%). Seventy-seven per cent of the long-termer group was presently employed while only 37% of the short-termer group was employed.No statistically significant difference was found in the value preferences of the two groups on fourteen value indicators as measured by a Chi Square Analysis.While numerical differences appeared between the two groups on fourteen quality of life items, only one area was statistically significant. Efficacy was significant by a Chi Square Analysis (P = .0116) in favor of the long-termer group. The description for efficacy was "to make my own way, to be independent or free to do the things in life I want to do--to be in control of my life."Conclusions based on the findings of the study answered the research questions. Participation in a high school alternative learning environment for two or more years does have favorable impact on the post high school lives of resistant learners. A brief exposure (one year or less) also impacts the post high school lives of resistant learners but the degree of impact of the learning environment is less and influences different areas of their lives than for participants with a longer tenure in the alternative program.