Date of Conferral







Kathyrne Mueller


Thousands of students drop out of high school every day in the United States and the repercussions affect more than just the individual. Research on smaller learning communities (SLC) reveals increased student achievement, as well as improved teacher perception of student engagement. Student attendance, grade point average, and standardized test scores have been seen to improve within the SLC. In addition, graduation rates for students enrolled in a SLC have revealed increases, but this research focuses on the SLC as an intervention for any student. The current research targets at-risk students in an educational climate of sparse resources, and an increasing need for clever use of capital. The current research fills this gap by evaluating a SLC developed for and populated solely with students identified as at-risk by collecting data from students enrolled in a SLC and comparing them to a population of similar at-risk students not enrolled in the SLC. A Chi-square analysis was conducted comparing graduation rates, a 1-factor analysis of variance compared state test scores, and a 2-factor mixed analysis of variance was conducted to compare GPA, attendance, and discipline between and within the 2 groups. The alpha level was adjusted per the Bonferroni method to correct for multiple data points on the same sample and resulting in a sample size of 106. Findings from this research found a one year SLC intervention made a difference in school attendance, and revealed an overall trend of difference between SLC and control at-risk students in all other areas. These findings contribute to positive social change understanding a one year SLC intervention is capable of improving attendance as well as producing an overall positive trend for at-risk high school students in the areas of graduation, standardized assessment, discipline, and standardized assessments.