Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Joseph Licata


The purpose of this study has been to design, implement, and evaluate an alternative structure to traditional schools, operationalized as the Louisiana State Youth Opportunities Unlimited School. The alternative structure of the school was based on a number of theoretical concepts. The implementation of this structure intended to increase the level of coping skills in student participants who were at risk for dropping out of high school. There were two theoretical models that influenced the design of the LSYOU school. The first model suggests that the socialization of clients is most effective in organizations that are high in scope and pervasiveness and that exercise control over clients through the use of normative compliance (Etzioni, 1961). The second model suggests that positive outcomes in clients are more likely to occur in organizations that utilize participative management to characterize the relationship between superiors and subordinates (Likert, 1961). Two main problems were addressed in this study. The first problem dealt with the congruence between the LSYOU School and its theoretical underpinnings. The second problem dealt with the issue of whether the implementation of the LSYOU School could produce positive outcomes in the at-risk student participants. A control group research design was implemented with funding from the Job Training Partnership Act. A modified form of random assignment was used to select the treatment group (105 students) and the control group (65 students). Two procedures were utilized to validate whether the LSYOU School reflected its theoretical base. The first was a quantitative analysis of the Profile of School. The second was a qualitative analysis of student observations, interviews, surveys, and letters. Four hypotheses were tested to measure treatment outcomes. These hypotheses predicted that the treatment group would attain significantly higher scores over a control group at the.05 level or beyond in math, reading, career maturity, and intentions to remain in school. This study has demonstrated two major findings. The first is that the LSYOU Program successfully reflected the theoretical constructs upon which it was based. The second is that this program did produce positive outcomes in the at-risk student participants' level of coping skills.