Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Mari V. Tinney


In Jamaica, a significant number of at-risk older youths do not attend school, nor are they employed. The government created the Career Advancement Program (CAP) to provide skills and career options for them, but many students drop out of the program. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to gain a better understanding of the reasons why students were dropping out of CAP and what could be done to retain them longer. The study was designed to explore why students dropped out of the CAP before completion, to what extent experiences in CAP satisfied student needs, and how experienced and prepared the CAP teachers were to teach adult learners. The conceptual frameworks used to inform the study included Mezirow’s transformational learning theory and Freire's pedagogy of the oppressed. Participants were selected through a purposive sampling technique. Data were collected through interviews and questionnaires from 5 current students, 4 dropouts, 6 teachers, and 4 administrators, and data from source documents. Data were analyzed inductively through sorting, coding, and categorizing the responses in ATLAS Ti software. Minor themes that emerged were summarized into 3 broad themes: factors for dropouts, factors for supporting CAP students, and factors for teacher training and preparation. A professional development workshop was created to expose some CAP teachers to the teaching methodology and basic content of adult education theories such as andragogy because most Jamaican teachers in this study had had no previous training on how to teach adults. This project could have a positive impact on the adult education landscape in Jamaica if the local Ministry of Education adopts a policy of requiring improved training for facilitators of adult learners.