Characteristics and social bonding to school, to teachers, and to peers of successful and non-successful Hispanic students in an alternative high school

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Higher Education

First Committee Member

John H. Croghan - Committee Chair


The purpose of this study was to describe the personal, family and school characteristics of students who succeeded and did not succeed in an alternative school program for at-risk students during an academic school year. Success was measured in terms of attendance, GPA, and number of disciplinary referrals. The data were gathered to answer three research questions: (1) What are the personal, family and school characteristics of those students who succeeded in the school? (2) What are the personal, family and school characteristics of those students who did not succeed in the school? and (3) To what extent do the personal, family and school characteristics of the students who did not succeed in the school differ from those of the students who did succeed?The conceptual framework for the study was Wehlage et al.'s (1989) dropout prevention theory. This theory is based on two educational goals of school membership and academic engagement. School records were used to gather the data and Wehlage's Wisconsin Youth Survey was used to measure bonding to teachers, to school, and to peers. A Discriminant Analysis was performed to determine whether the various predictor variables could differentiate between the successful and non-successful students.The analysis was done using nine variables as predictors of membership in one of the two groups. The school related characteristics: bonding to teachers, bonding to peers and being too old for grade (two or more years older than their classmates) were identified as the most significant predictors of group membership. The findings of this study indicated that, regardless of the personal and family characteristics of at-risk students, those who develop bonds to teachers and peers and who are in the appropriate grade level for their age have a better chance to succeed in school.


Education, Secondary; Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

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