Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Nathan Long


Although the development of cyber high schools over the last 10 years has increased, no data are reported in the literature regarding the factors that have contributed to the increased enrollment or student perceptions of success. The purpose of this grounded theory study was to develop a theory describing why students currently enrolled in an online high school program chose an asynchronous setting and their subsequent perceptions of success. Critical pedagogy, as a basis of transformational experiences through education, served as the conceptual framework. An attitudinal survey, provided as a limited data set by the high school, was used to identify preliminary generative themes responding to the research questions. Based on the preliminary themes, student interviews were conducted until data saturation was reached. Data were analyzed using the constant comparative coding method to address the research questions. Interviews and surveys provided the necessary data for triangulation through multiple achievement based comparison groups, enabling cross-checking between theoretical constructs and specific criterion identified during data analysis. Findings suggested these students migrated to an asynchronous high school to address the perceived detrimental effects as identified in one of the four generative themes: traditional classroom setting, inflexible scheduling, needing a more individualized curriculum, or issues related to school culture. Moreover, findings indicated that students' perception of success appear to have increased as a result of their migration to an online setting. The findings from this study may help teachers, guidance counselors, and administrators better advise their students in identifying the best learning environment, enabling students to enhance their own learning and potentially experience an increased perception of success.