Date of Award

January 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Jared Schlenker


The purpose of this dissertation was twofold: to determine how graduates of North Dakota high schools perceived their educational experiences in relation to preparing them for their adult lives, and to determine how curriculum and graduation requirements at the time of this study in North Dakota Century Code (NDCC) 15.1-21, titled “Curriculum and Testing,” fulfilled the purpose of education in North Dakota. This study used a mixed-methods research design and includes a literature review and an online survey of 81 North Dakota high school graduates in the Dickinson area regarding the readiness of students who have graduated from North Dakota high schools for prosperity, happiness, and democratic engagement in adult life. The survey instrument included both closed quantitative questions and open qualitative questions. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. Qualitative data was coded and analyzed for themes.Research results suggested students had positive perceptions regarding the readiness of graduates for adult life. Results also indicated educational experiences do influence the prosperity, happiness, and democratic engagement of North Dakota graduates, but many influential elements of the educational system were not required or measured in North Dakota educational policy in place at the time of this study.