A typology of states as defined by problems and solutions related to adult undereducation

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Leadership


Roger Hiemstra


literacy, Adult education, Continuing education, Public administration

Subject Categories

Adult and Continuing Education Administration


This study investigated the patterns of variation among states with respect to problems and solutions related to adult undereducation. Publicly available data sources were examined in an attempt to construct a typology of states based on selected variables related to undereducation. The intent of this study was to construct a typology of states in a manner such that the state groupings would be useful to state and national policymakers and to educators for understanding the comparative educational problems and solutions of the 50 states.

A nonhierarchical cluster analysis method was used to derive mutually exclusive clusters or types of states based on maximum similarity of states within each cluster and maximum dissimilarity between clusters. Cluster analysis was conducted on five defining variables for each of the 50 states. After the clusters were formed, 17 descriptive variables were used to further describe each of these types of states. A five-cluster solution was chosen, and the identified types of states include the following: Type I: States with Small Problems and Weak Solutions; Type II: States with Average Problems and Average Solutions; Type III: States with Small Problems and Strong Solutions; Type IV: States with Big Problems and Weak Solutions; and Type V: States with Big Problems and Inconsistent Solutions.

This study has a potential to be of benefit to the states and to national policymakers. The principal outcome of this study was the development of a typology of states as defined by problem and solution variables. Such a typology will enable collaborative planning among states that have similar profiles. Ultimately, a typology of states will help states formulate, perhaps in collaboration, meaningful, realistic, and effective policies that address undereducation as it occurs within the boundaries of each state.

In addition, a typology of states will also be useful to national policymakers. National policy makers need to understand the varying educational problems and solutions among the states and to make educational and funding decisions based on comparative need rather than on the raw number of people without a high school diploma--a number detached from the social, cultural, and economic environment in which the people who constitute this number live.


Surface provides description only. Full text is available to ProQuest subscribers. Ask your Librarian for assistance.