Date of Award


Degree Name

Educational Leadership


College of Education

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Louis K. Watts

Second Advisor

Edna Meisel

Third Advisor

Tom Hisiro

Fourth Advisor

N. Dwight Livesay


This study used non-experimental survey research to gather data on the kinds of dropout prevention programs in place in West Virginia high schools in 2014-15 and to evaluate their effectiveness based on possible relationships between principals’ perceptions of the programs and graduation rates. The study focused on nine of 15 effective strategies for dropout prevention identified by the National Dropout Prevention Center: School-Community Collaboration, Safe Learning Environment, Family Engagement, Mentoring/Tutoring, Service Learning, Alternative School, After School, Individualized Instructional, and Career and Technical Education Programs. A tenth program, Alternative Pathways to Diploma, cited as one of four policy recommendations and best practices for West Virginia by a National Governors Association Grant Study, was added. Survey data were collected via Internet and the United States Postal Service from among the entire population of 116 West Virginia high school principals for the school year 2014-15 with a response rate of 72% (n = 83). The study identified percentages for each of the 10 programs. The Pearson Product-Moment Correlation statistical test revealed no correlation between the number of programs used and graduation rates. Independent Samples Ttests showed no relationship between programs not in use and graduation rate. A Chi-Square test did show statistical significance among principals’ perceptions of effectiveness. The ANOVA showed a relationship between principals’ perceptions and graduation rate for one program, Alternative Pathways to Diploma.


High school dropouts -- West Virginia.

High school dropouts -- Prevention.