Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




James H. Stronge


The purpose of this study was to analyze a prominent alternative education practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia through an analysis of the Virginia Department of Education's Individual Student Alternative Education Plan (ISAEP) program and the alternative education environment it provides. This was a descriptive study using non-experimental survey research using quantitative and qualitative data to study the phenomena as it exists. Participants included 132 ISAEP program leaders attending the 6th Annual Conference in July, 2012. The study revealed that the ISAEP program is consistent with how alternative education is defined both in Virginia and nationally as it has characteristics similar to those that research informs educators about effective programs. The program blends academics, vocational, career and technical education and training and characteristics such as voluntary enrollment, student-centered individual programming, a functional curriculum with GED completion, and the presents of caring, knowledgeable adults. The program is taught by licensed staff, most of whom hold degrees higher than a Bachelor's and who hold multiple endorsements. All ten exemplary practices were seen as important and moderately positive relationships were found between program leaders' perception of exemplary practices and current practices for seven of ten practices. A weak relationship was found with the practice of leadership and current practice. Leadership was seen as the practice that could most positively impact the quality and effectiveness of the ISAEP program. There was little correlation between importance and practice with respect to Student Assessment. Collaboration with Community and Program Evaluation were practices reported to be least evident.



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