Alt Title

How one community high school district addresses the needs of student at risk for academic failure

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Lieberman, Joyce M.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Teaching and Learning


Academic achievement--Illinois--Chicago


The federal requirements of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) have placed a new focus on increasing graduation rates and reducing drop-out rates. In order to ensure that all students graduate, attention must be given to students who are at-risk for academic failure. Restructuring and school improvement are terms often used to denote the extent of change needed to create schools that are responsive to all students, including those at-risk. The academic needs of at-risk students have not been met through traditional approaches. In order to understand ways that can be successful with at-risk students, four approaches are presented, specifically school factors, that address at-risk students and will be presented as a conceptual framework for this paper. It is important to note that other approaches exist, but for the purposes of this study Hixson and Tinzmann’s 1990 approaches of predictive, descriptive, unilateral, and school factors will be used. The school factors approach was chosen because of the simplicity in describing flexibility and tailoring curriculum; however, all four approaches are somewhat connected when addressing at-risk students. The purpose of this study is to address the problem that meeting the needs of all students requires a restructure of teaching strategies and non-conformance to one educational environment. In this study, the researcher will discuss the school factors approach and strategies used that contribute to high school completion for at-risk students, and how they can be implemented into the mainstream or general population of students. The methodology for this study is a qualitative case study and will include research and data collection through interviews and document analysis. The sample interviewed for this study consists of administrators, guidance counselors, teachers, and students. Participants will be encouraged to reflect on their own experiences and knowledge, and to make value judgments about the meanings of those experiences. Triangulation of the data, both documents and interviews, will identify and describe patterns and themes from the perspective of the participants.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [163]-169).


vi, 183 pages




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