This study took place in Wichita, Kansas. One school implemented the intervention. Students in the comparison group had the option to attend one of multiple schools.
In the intervention group, 52% of students identified as male, 45% identified as White, non-Hispanic, 39% identified as Black, non-Hispanic, and 9% identified as Hispanic. A majority of students said that their mother had a high school education or more (65%). Only 3% of students said that the primary language spoken at was not English. In the comparison group, 48% of students identified as male, 44% identified as White, non-Hispanic, 38% identified as Black, non-Hispanic, and 11% identified as Hispanic. A majority of students said that their mother had a high school education or more (66%). Only 3% of students said that the primary language spoken at was not English.
The Alternative Schools Demonstration Program (ASDP) was created to address dropout rates among certain segments of the youth population. ASDP funded establishment and evaluation of alternative schools in seven economically disadvantaged areas around the country. The schools were designed to improve the basic skills and employability of highly at-risk youth. The program was modeled after High School Redirection, an alternative high school in Brooklyn. The schools served youth who had persistent problems in the regular public school system, such as repeated incidents of academic failure or frequent truancy. The schools in the program emphasize basic skill development while promoting other aspects of personal development. ASDP schools were to have seven key features: 1) issuance of standard high school diplomas, 2) operate in low-income locations separate from other high schools, 3) maintain a degree of autonomy from the district's central office in their daily operations, policy-making, and hiring decisions, 4) on site childcare, 5) intensive remedial reading programs for students with serious literacy problems, 6) serve about 500 students, with admission based on referral rather than accessibility or proximity to students (students could not be denied based on past issues), and 7) operated by local boards of education, and staffed by supervisors and teachers who meet the normal district standards. Extracurricular activities were limited. The evaluation focused on academic, economic, and social impacts of the program. This study review in particular examines findings from an evaluation of Metro-Midtown Alternative High School in Wichita, Kansas. The study examines the effectiveness of the program on various factors, including: student attendance/enrollment, credits earned, graduation rates, diploma/GED receipt, basic skill levels/grades, employment rates, welfare receipt, wages, and several variables measuring delinquency.
Comparison group students received business-as-usual because they attended a non-program school.
Support for implementation
The authors did not discuss or provide support for intervention implementation.