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ERIC Number: ED555990
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 276
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3035-2641-1
Experiences, Perceived Challenges, and Support Systems of Early College High School Students: Applications of Social Capital Theory
Saenz, Karen P.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Sam Houston State University
Purpose: The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the prior experiences, perceived challenges, and support systems of Grade 12 students at an ECHS. An in-depth investigation corroborated the importance of the social capital the participants generated to overcome the obstacles they encountered. Methodology: Utilizing Moustakas's phenomenological design, the criterion sampling technique was employed to select students who participated in focus group interviews and a demographic data questionnaire. Five of the participants were chosen using the critical case technique to participate in individual interviews. Findings: Five themes emerged from the data, and subthemes surfaced in each cluster. A major reason for students to attend an ECHS was the "significance of an associate's degree." Taking college classes was considered a privilege, and the degree satisfied a family vision of a college education, offered the family economic benefits, and provided additional benefits. The "importance of a positive school environment" afforded students a happy and safe atmosphere even though the small school presented some challenges as well as many benefits. This school setting offered a rich training ground for the "establishment of the co-researchers identity and values" and enabled them to increase self-awareness, clarify values, and develop adult skills for success. The "impact of family members" and the "necessity of support from peers and teachers" supplied academic and emotional support for the co-researchers and was an essential aspect of the students' experience. Implications and Conclusions: Understanding the meaning of the experiences of the Grade 12 students presented valuable discernment for high school and college administrators in an ECHS setting. Success of ECHSs provided a possible remedy for the challenges of access and equity issues, school dropout concerns, college and career readiness challenges, and degree completion. Application of social capital in the form of supportive relationships appeared to enable the ECHS students to complete high school and earn an associate's degree, an outstanding achievement for economically disadvantaged English language learners who were first-generation college students. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education; Grade 12; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A