Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Brianna Parsons, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

William Boozang, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Jacqueline Lookabaugh, Ed.D.


The early college high school (ECHS) model was implemented to increase the number of underrepresented students who attain a college degree by immersing students in a postsecondary environment and providing them with the necessary skills to experience success. This qualitative instrumental case study explored how ECHS students perceived their academic experiences as meaningful and how such experiences influenced academic motivation and engagement. The study site was an ECHS located in Texas. All 11 participants were currently enrolled in 11th or 12th grade at the ECHS. Data was collected through semistructured interviews, observational notes, and artifacts. Synthesized member checking was conducted following transcription of interviews to increase credibility of results. Data triangulation also allowed for increased validation to results. The results of this study indicated that participants perceive their academic experiences as meaningful when those experiences lead to personal connection, gave a sense of direction, and resonated with the participant. Unexpectedly, the results indicated the importance of academic experiences in aiding students in the formation of their educational identity.

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