Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




This study compared the effectiveness of two structured small-group counseling techniques, Peer Counseling and Achievement Motivation Training, on the school attendance and academic achievement of underachieving alternative high school students. It also investigated whether participation in daily counseling sessions over a six-week period positively effected measures of self-concept, locus of control, and tendency to achieve.;Experimental subjects were 81 high school students in grades nine through twelve in a public open alternative high school. Subjects were students who had passed fewer than 75 percent of their classes during the marking period preceding the study.;Subjects were assigned randomly to one of four treatment groups: Achievement Motivation Training (AMT), Peer Counseling Training (PC), Attention Placebo control, and No-Treatment control. The AMT group participated in a structured training program designed to facilitate behaviors characteristic of high achievers.;The PC group participated in a structured program in human relations training designed to develop communication skills. The Attention Placebo group engaged in unstructured group discussions, while the No-Treatment control group pursued the normal Groups met daily for fifty minutes for six weeks.;Academic grade point averages and percentage of classes attended were calculated pre- and post-treatment for all subjects. The Tennessee Self Concept Scale, Rotter's I-E Scale, and Mehrabian and Bank's Measure of Achieving Tendency were also administered pre- and post-treatment. It was hypothesized that students participating in the AMT group would show greater increase in achievement motivation and movement toward internal locus of control than those participating in the PC group or control groups. It was also hypothesized that students participating in AMT and PC groups would show greater increase in self-esteem, and greater improvement in attendance and achievement than control group subjects.;Data analysis did not support any of the experimental hypotheses. All groups, experimental and control, showed significant improvement in grade point average subsequent to the experimental treatment period.;It was concluded that neither experimental treatment significantly effected the academic achievement, class attendance, achievement motivation, locus of control, or self-concept for this population. Several possible reasons were discussed for the failure to obtain the hypothesized results.



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