The impact of the turnaround opportunity school on student achievement
The high school dropout rate has remained a critical concern of school districts across the nation. In California, the overall high school dropout rate in 2012 was 13.2% and reached 22.2% for at-risk minority groups. To increase graduation rates, many states have developed alternative education programs to make earning a high school diploma more accessible for at-risk populations. One alternative program, the Turnaround Opportunity School (TOPS) aims at remediating ninth- and tenth-grade high school students who are behind in credits and off-track for graduation. This transitional alternative education program began in 2011–2012 and is an attempt at increasing student achievement and graduation rates for ninth- and tenth-grade at-risk students. The present study assessed the impact of the TOPS program on increasing student achievement in terms of grade point average (GPA) and graduation rate. A paired sample t-test and a Pearson Chi-square analysis were used to determine if TOPS had an impact on student achievement and graduation rate. The results of the paired sample t-test revealed a significant difference in mean GPA before (M= 1.09, SD= .93) and during TOPS enrollment (M= 2.50, SD= 2.08). The results of the chi-square revealed a significant difference in the distribution of students who graduated and those who did not graduate. The TOPS program appears to have had a significant positive impact on student achievement in terms of GPA and graduation rate.