Responding to increasing concern from parents and the community, administrators at Alexandria's only public high school have been directed to conduct a major study of the school's academic and social environment.

At a meeting last week, the Alexandria School Board directed administrators to analyze the "open campus" policy at T. C. Williams, focusing, in particular on the effects the policy had on student performance. The policy, first initiated in 1971, has come under attack recently for what some see as too much freedom for the school's 2,500 sophomores, juniors and seniors.

"We have a large group of students (at T. C. Williams) who are capable of achieving far more than they currently are . . . and while we can't point our fingers at any one problem as the cause, open campus certainly contributes," said School Board member J. Harvey Harrison.

The decision to study campus policies follows the defeat last month of a similar motion that would call only for study of the open campus policy. At that time, board members indicated they did not object to the intent of the motion, but rather to the wording of section devoted to committee selection which they felt was not specific enough. The new study is expected to be completed by May.