Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

First Advisor

Doug Eury

Second Advisor

Jane King

Abstract

This dissertation was designed to determine reasons graduate students do not complete requirements for a Master's in Middle Level Education degree at the southeastern university. Since the program's initial on-campus cohort (2000) the graduation rate has decreased from 80% to 62.96% with the fourth on-campus cohort (2005). The current cohort currently has five students enrolled which will yield a 29% graduation rate depending on student choice. Program faculty is concerned about the increasing difference between the number of applicants and number of those completing the program.

The researcher conducted a program evaluation, using Guba and Lincoln's four phases of responsive evaluation, to determine the quality of the program as well as to receive feedback from former graduates (completers) and applicants (non-completers) of the Master's in Middle Level Education program. A survey, focus groups and one-on-one interviews were used to collect data. Participants were given multiple opportunities to participate in all three data collection methods and were encouraged to be honest and share any thoughts about the Master's in Middle Level Education program.

The data revealed that the most favorable outcomes of completing a Master's in Middle Level Education degree were receiving a pay raise, gaining knowledge about middle level curriculum and students, and career advancement. Overall more than 80% of participants of the study agreed the goals of the program were met. The data analysis also revealed barriers to the Master's in Middle Level Education program such as limited provisions of financial assistance and inconvenient or inconsistent course offerings.