Adult students' perceptions of a basic skills academic program

Caem L. Gorman


Program effectiveness was explored through the view of the participants of an adult basics skills program designed to assist students to fulfill General Educational Development (GED) requirements. Participants were asked to give their opinion on program effectiveness. Participants elaborated on such themes as previous educational experiences and their reasons for dropping out of high school. The participants were positive about their experiences in the program. The study format adhered to qualitative research procedures. Analysis of data resulted in 14 themes or characteristics reflecting participants' perceptions. These themes were a combination of reasons why the participants had not completed high school and their feelings of productiveness since being in the program. The resulting themes were Previous Education, Dropping Out, Program, Beginning Again, Goals, Health/Disability, Self-esteem, Childcare, Transportation, Influences, Family and Personal Relationships, Previous Experiences, and Family Tragedy. Analysis of data indicated that previous education had a strong effect on a student's decision to leave high school. The program was viewed by students as contributing to positive changes that had taken place in their lives. Some of these changes were improved self-esteem and positive attitudes about academic and job-related abilities.