Ninth grade students' perceptions to enrolling in a high school signature center

Vanessa Maria Eugene

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the perception of ninth grade students from high school signature centers, citywide access schools, and traditional comprehensive high schools regarding enrollment into high school signature centers. The study was motivated by the failure of high school signature centers to reach their enrollment goals. These high school signature centers were developed as a superintendent-level initiative aimed at improving the overall effectiveness of the secondary school programs in a Southern urban school district. The instrument used in this investigation was a questionnaire designed to garner information about the students' personal characteristics, educational perceptions, and perceptions of barriers that may have influenced their high school choice. The sample population included 134 ninth grade students from five citywide access schools, five high school signature centers, and eight traditional comprehensive high schools. The sampling technique consisted of a stratified process where ninth grade students were separated and afterwards randomly selected. To determine differences in educational perceptions between the three groups of students, a one-way analysis of variance and Tukey's post hoc were conducted. The study revealed that there was a significant difference in educational perceptions. According to the data, high school signature center students perceived that their schools were better than other schools. Citywide access school students were not likely to enroll in a high school signature center because they, perceived that their schools were just as effective. Traditional comprehensive high school students were more likely to enroll in a high school signature center because they perceived their schools were less effective. To determine differences in perception of barriers between students enrolled in citywide access schools and traditional comprehensive high schools, a t-test was conducted. The results revealed that there was a significant difference in perception of barriers. According to the data, traditional comprehensive high school students were less likely to enroll in a high school signature center because of their perception of barriers, such as participation in sports, band, and family legacies at their current school.