Term of Award

Fall 2008

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Linda M. Arthur

Committee Member 1

Anne Marshall

Committee Member 2

Sonya Shepherd


Perception data are invaluable to school improvement plans. Student perception data, in particular, is useful when determining indicators related to student success or failure. The purpose of this study was to understand high school students' perceptions of their high school experience. Data for this quantitative study was collected using a survey instrument. The 1,120 participants, who were ninth through twelfth grade students attending an urban, diverse public high school in Georgia, responded to questions related to belongingness, peer relationships, student relationships with teachers and other staff members and teacher qualities and instructional strategies. Demographic data relating to grade level, race, gender, academic program, and extracurricular activity involvement were collected to support this study. The data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics, frequency distributions, Independent Samples T Tests, and ANOVAs with PASW 18. Major conclusions from the study included (1) many students do not feel safe at school, (2) ninth grade students experienced a greater sense of belongingness and had better relationships with adults than tenth grade students, (3) although peer relationships rated positive in the school, 24% of the students reported feelings of unfair treatment by peers, (4) most students reported fair treatment from adults; however, 36% reported unfair treatment by administrators, (5) most students reported that school is not fun, (6) students enjoy learning and understand the significance of hard work, (7) not all students feel that school is preparing them for what they want to do after high school, (8) students prefer to learn material that is relevant to real-life experiences, (9) not all students think their teachers understand when students have personal problems, (10) students are not convinced that teachers care, (11) students' preferred learning styles are not always comparable to teachers instructional strategies, and (12) there is little computer usage during instructional time.

Research Data and Supplementary Material