Administrators' perceptions of alternative school characteristics and their relationship with recidivism

Lori Elaine Burkett


The purpose of this study was to determine if differences existed between secondary and alternative school administrators' reported perceptions on the importance and existence of 26 alternative school effectiveness characteristics and if the administrators' perceptions were related to alternative school recidivism. The administrator groups were in agreement that 25 of the 26 characteristics were important; they also agreed that the characteristic student enrollment is by choice, not a mandate , was not important. Significant differences were identified between the administrator groups on reported existence of the characteristics; alternative administrators reported the existence of the characteristics to be significantly higher than the secondary administrators reported. Overall, there were no correlations identified between administrators' reported perceptions on the importance and existence of the characteristics and alternative school recidivism rates. A few individual correlations were identified related to community support, teacher to student ratio, and student access to medical care. To further develop the purpose of the study, three short answer questions were asked of the administrators. These questions were used to compare and report administrator responses to questions on other characteristics that may be important for alternative schools, transition supports utilized in alternative and secondary schools, and reasons why students return to the alternative school for multiple assignments.