Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

David Piper, Ed.D

Second Advisor

Joseph Marcoline, Ed.D

Third Advisor

Kelli Paquette, Ed.D.


This study’s purpose was to examine the academic, behavioral, and financial effectiveness of Pennsylvania in-house alternative education programs to off-site alternative education programs. Pennsylvania in-house alternative education programs are operated internally by a school district. Off-site alternative education programs are programs where school districts outsource their disruptive youth to county Intermediate Units or Private Provider alternative education programs (AEPs). The population of this study consisted of all students enrolled in alternative education from 2011 -2013 in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; groups that were analyzed included in-house/district, private provider, and intermediate unit alternative education programs. The fundamental research questions this study sought to answer are: • Is there a significant statistical difference in the academic success of students “at-risk” enrolled in an in-house AEP compared to off-site AEPs? • Is there a significant statistical difference with in-house alternative education programs improving student behavior compared to off-site AEPs? • Is there a financial difference in educating students “at-risk” internally compared to placing students outside the district in an off-site AEP? Results of this study were quantitative in nature. Data were analyzed by domains using descriptive statistics, a one-way Analysis of Variance was performed along with Post-hoc tests and a Multiple Comparison test. Results of this study indicated that there were no statistical significant differences among the three types of alternative education programs with regards to variables tested. This non-significant difference held true for all three years, with the exception of 2011 police interventions. Results allow for the assumption that in-house (District) AEPs have a similar success rate with their students achieving their academic and behavioral goals, compared to off-site (Private Provider, Intermediate Unit). However, data results with regards to average mean scores imply that in-house AEPs are more consistent from year to year in their approach to academic and behavioral outcomes. Finally, this study examined financial differences between AEPs. Intermediate Unit AEPs had the lowest average cost per day per student. However, the average cost per student per day did not include transportation costs for Private Provider and Intermediate Unit AEPs.