Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

First Advisor

Doug Eury

Abstract

School districts around the country have sought to mitigate students' reasons for dropping out through a variety of approaches. A repeated theme in the dropout research is student course failure in key academic subjects needed for on-time promotion with grade-level peers. The crux of the problem is that within the traditional classroom environment, a significant number of students do not demonstrate the required level of academic skills and knowledge needed to pass specific state and district mandated courses, which ultimately decreases their ability to advance to the next grade and graduate in 4 years.

The purpose of this dissertation study was to determine if a unit-based mastery approach to credit attainment, delivered in an online mediated environment, helped to build specific content knowledge and skills targeted as weaknesses for students in prior attempts at the course in the traditional classroom. Specifically, the study sought to determine if one district's approach to credit recovery with its emphasis on relearning and retesting previously failed content led to greater student mastery in high school courses needed for promotion or graduation as measured by pre and posttest unit scores and the overall course achievement of 70% set by the state of South Carolina. The study also measured the on-time promotion rates of students who qualified and participated in the program as well as the impact of the program on the school's on-time promotion rate.

Finally, this study determined to what external or environmental conditions of the program students attributed their success or failure in learning in the online mediated environment and the extent to which internal psychological factors contributed to their success or failure in the program. Relevant subscales of motivation such as self-efficacy, intrinsic goal orientation, extrinsic goal orientation, control of learning beliefs and test anxiety as well as subscales of self-regulatory learning strategies such as rehearsal, elaboration, organization, critical thinking, metacognition, time and study environment management, effort regulation, peer learning, and help seeking were analyzed.