Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation


College of Nursing


Nursing Practice

First Advisor

Beverly Baliko

Second Advisor

Mary R Boyd


High school dropout has profound and costly implications for individuals and for society. Failing to graduate from high school has an impact on future earnings, participation in risky behaviors, including criminal activity, and health outcomes. There is a substantial need for utilization of effective interventions to prevent dropout in youth who are at-risk. Incorporating evidenced-based methods into common practice may interrupt the cycle of school failures that lead to educational termination and the cascade of poor outcomes that follow. To this end a two-phase behavioral treatment (Project Success) was implemented with at-risk youth who were returning from a remanded period at an alternative school. Following the treatment, school attitudes, behavioral indicators, and academic success indicators were evaluated. A significant positive effect was found in student goal orientation and a positive trend toward significance was measured in student attitude toward school. Students showed an overall improvement in GPA, but attendance and discipline continued to be problematic areas. Of 19 students who participated in the treatment, three students were on track for graduation at the end of the school year and 89.5% of program participants were still in school at the end of Semester One. This preliminary evaluation suggests that Project Success had a positive effect in mediating high school dropout in the target population. Further evaluation is recommended to better establish the efficacy of the treatment.


© 2011, Kathrene Carter Berger