School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Sherrita Rogers


postsecondary readiness, at-risk students, Title I schools, ecological theory, urban high school, college and career readiness




The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to describe the lived experiences of high school graduates who were at-risk students (ARS) of low socioeconomic status (SES) who completed the state standards-based college and career readiness (CCR) curriculum at Title I high schools. For the purposes of this study, ARS of low SES were generally defined as students of low-income households with at least one parents failing to complete high school or a postsecondary degree program. CCR is defined as the level of preparedness for postsecondary schools and workforce settings. A Title I school is defined as a school that receives additional federal funding for the purpose of equalizing education for students of low SES. The theory that guided this study was Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory, which proposes that human development is affected by a combination of influences from different areas of an individual’s ecological environment. This study occurred in the state of Georgia with 10 participants. Data were gathered through individual semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and written response prompts, which were then analyzed and synthesized into similar themes experienced by the participants. Three major themes and eight subthemes were identified from the analysis of the participant experiences. The major themes were preparedness for college, preparedness for the workforce, and high school environment. Additional research is required to continue exploring the impact of the CCR curriculum of Title I high schools on the postsecondary outcomes of students of low SES, particularly in relation to their preparedness for postsecondary settings and financial literacy.

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