Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Philip A. Griswold



The dropout rates of African American and Hispanic students in the United States are significantly higher than that of White students. Failure to obtain a high school diploma has adverse economic and social implications for these students and for society. The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between a credit recovery program with key demographic variables and high school GPA, which is a graduation antecedent, for students in an alternative school. Knowles' framework of adult learning theory was used to examine how participation in the credit recovery process in a system of predominantly African American-serving alternative schools predicted GPA while accounting for the influence of student demographic variables. The ex-post facto causal-comparative design involved the analysis of an archival random sample of 168 former students, 84 of whom had taken credit recovery courses and 84 of whom had not. A multiple linear regression model (R =0.257, F(4, 163) = 2.770, p = 0.029) indicated that only gender (β = 0.188, p = .02) significantly predicted the students' GPA, with female students outperforming males. A conclusion is that the implementation of credit recovery programs in U.S. schools does not have any impact on students' GPA. The results suggest weaknesses in program delivery and training and that the review and revision of professional development opportunities for teachers is merited. Drawing from the extant literature, a professional development recommendation was made to improve program effectiveness based on documented best practice examples. Implications for the promotion of positive social change include the evaluation of more robust credit recovery programs capable of improving the graduation rates of U.S. Hispanic and African American students.