Date of Conferral







Alice Eichholz


More than 24,000 U.S. high school students drop out each year, contributing to the approximate 1.1 million U.S. adults who have not earned the high school diploma or General Education Development. This failure in educational attainment contributes significantly to the lack of economic and workforce development opportunities as well as the standard of living for more than 10% of the statewide population of a midwestern state. In response to this problem, the state entered into model programming in 2015 with 2 new approaches for adult education to diploma programs. The purpose of this basic qualitative interpretive research study was to better understand the experiences of 9 adult learners who successfully completed 1 of 2 high school diploma completion programs. The conceptual framework for this study integrated the learning theory perspectives of Bruner and Bandura and the aspects of lifelong learning and its influence on the motivations and values of the adult learner. The codes and themes that emerged from the analysis of the interview process were the participants' connection to the program, extrinsic and intrinsic motivations, challenges that were experienced through the program, strategies for success that fostered the completion process, suggestions for program improvements, and the advice the participants would give to prospective students who are considering an adult diploma option. These results may contribute to a better understanding of success factors for adult students enrolled in diploma completion programs and support positive change and program effectiveness in the future.