Graduation Year

2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Adult, Career and Higher Education

Major Professor

William H. Young, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Waynne B. James, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Jeffrey D. Kromrey, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Janet Richards, Ph.D.

Keywords

AACES, Barriers to Participation, Dropouts, Participation, Participation in Adult Education

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore attitudes toward adult education among adult learners without a high school diploma or the General Educational Development (GED). In this study, adult learners without a high school diploma or GED completed the Attitudes Toward Adult Education Scale (AACES) and selected respondents volunteered to participate in a face-to-face interview in conjunction with the mixed methods section of the study. For this study, I used a 5-point Likert scale to measure the responses on the 22-item AACES survey.

Three hundred and fifty respondents participated in the study. Descriptive statistics and a three-way ANOVA revealed attitudes toward adult education were not very favorable among adults without a high school diploma or GED. Overall, there were no significant differences among adult learners without a high school diploma or GED. However, age was statistically significant, as older adult learners had more favorable attitudes toward adult education than younger adults did. Race/ethnicity and gender showed no significant differences. The qualitative data revealed interviewees valued adult education and thought it was important for them to obtain their GED or high school diploma. Those interviewed believed they needed to obtain their GED or high school diploma in order to acquire meaningful employment. The interviewees did not express any immediate plans to participate in adult education or post-secondary/GED studies upon completion of the GED program.

Based on the results, adult learners without a high school diploma or GED recognized the importance of obtaining a high school diploma or GED, but their attitudes toward the perception of participation in adult education were not favorable. The respondents believed participation in adult education is important and necessary to gain employment, but they did not show much enthusiasm for participation in adult education beyond the GED program.

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