Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Michelle Powell-Leake


An alternative high school campus in the State of Georgia introduced a new program to support academic growth and engagement among at-risk students. This program, the APEX program, merges technology with content to provide students with self-paced learning facilitated by teachers with the objective of improving test scores, course completion, and graduation. The purpose of this goals-based evaluation was to examine the relationship between APEX program usage and the academic success measures of EOCT scores, course credit accrual, and graduation; it was grounded in the behavior objectives approach. The study followed a cohort of students who were enrolled in Grade 9 in 2010-2011. Data sources were archival test scores and preexisting APEX data. This APEX data included accrued credit hours, completion rate, and documentation of mastery learning outcomes for the enrolled students in Grades 9-12. Analysis of the quantitative data sets entailed the use of ANOVA, Chi-Square, and t tests. The study findings showed that students using the hybrid APEX instructional model accrued significantly more credit hours, were more likely to graduate, and have higher end of course grades than students using the APEX-only model. These results suggest that a broader use of APEX labs for students identified as at-risk in both alternative and traditional schools provides a flexibility in instructional settings that helps more students succeed. This study suggests the most effective use of resources with the implementation of APEX to reach the largest number of students. This study promotes positive social change by confirming the efficacy of a tool for reaching more students to improve higher district-level graduation rate, course accrual, and end-of-course test scores.