Date of Conferral





Criminal Justice


Sean Grier


High School Equivalency (HSE) Programs operate in response to the national increase in high school dropout rates. These alternative learning methods are attractive to nontraditional high school students because they are designed to accommodate students who are unable to complete their high school diploma via the traditional classroom setting. However, even though these programs continue to thrive in many communities, many students are still unsuccessful at completing these programs. Therefore, there is a need to research the possible factors that prevent students from earning the equivalent of a high school diploma or general education diploma (GED) via these programs. Grounded in Merton’s strain theory(Snell et al.,1994) and Hirschi’s (1969) social control theory, this quantitative research investigated the relationship between criminal behavior and high school equivalency program completion among 142 study participants. Chi square tests of independence were used to determine the significance of the relationship between HSE program completion and criminal behavior. Furthermore, as dropout rates and the need for more positive social change continue to increase, factors that influence criminal behavior in HSE program students must be addressed. The results of this research indicated that the relationship between HSE program completion and criminal behavior was statistically significant. Henceforth it serves as a resource for adult education and criminal justice program personnel to better predict the successful outcome of completing a HSE program and obtaining a HSE diploma, and to improve the curriculum correspondingly.