Understanding The Role Of Curriculum Pacing In Relation To At-Risk Student Locus Of Control

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The purpose of the study was to explore the possibility of mitigating school drop out of at-risk students by self-pacing of curriculum in an alternative institution. To accomplish this goal, I interviewed seven students and five staff members comprising three teachers and two administrators, a total of twelve interviewees to solicit their opinions on the issues at hand. Purposeful sampling was used to identify participants who were "information rich" to conduct my interviews. I used a qualitative case study to research the causes of failure of at-risk students and the solutions to at-risk student school dropout. Participants were asked to tell the impact of self-pacing on students' locus of control, and if there was any relationship between at-risk students' use of self-pacing and their experience of test-taking. They were also to explain if there was any relationship between at-risk student self-pacing and their feelings about school dropout. The responses revealed five themes; the barriers to academic success which included childbearing/nursing mothers, law enforcement issues, behavioral issues, homelessness, and jobs/employment. Another theme that emerged was that the students saw the alternative school as the last opportunity for them to succeed. That alternative schools offer many options and levels of support and there is variability of success in alternative schools. The final theme was what I called intervention synergism, meaning that when several options or treatments are prescribed, there is a likelihood that one or two of the options would be able to address the issues confronting the students at-risk.



Educational leadership