Dissertation

The effects of a public charter high school on the academic achievement, discipline, and attitudes of African American students

This study examined the effectiveness of public charter high schools by comparing state assessment data, discipline records, and survey responses of African American students who attend a public charter high school with African American students who attend a public traditional comprehensive high school. The study used scores from the 2012-2013 California Standards Test (CST) in English language arts and mathematics. A t-test for independent samples was conducted to determine if there is a difference in mean scores in English language arts and mathematics between ninth, tenth, and eleventh-grade African American students who attend a public charter high and ninth, tenth, and eleventh-grade African American students who attend a public traditional comprehensive high school. Also, a t-test for independent samples was conducted to determine if there is a difference in mean suspensions and expulsions between the two groups. Randomly selected 12th grade African American students from both groups participated in a survey to determine their perceptions of the effectiveness of the schools they attend. The survey responses were analyzed using a Chi Square test for independence. The results showed that students in the charter school performed better on the state assessment than the traditional school students. Also, charter school students were suspended at a higher rate than traditional school students. The perceptions of both charter and public school students were similar among a majority of the survey statements regarding the effectiveness of their respective schools. However, charter school students ranked their schools effort to establish high expectations and preparation for college significantly higher than traditional school students.

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