Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Faculty members at a rural elementary school in a southeastern U.S. state have implemented a student leadership program called Leader in Me (LIM) in order to address increased behavioral disruptions and declining academic achievement scores and also better prepare students for the workforce. To determine the efficacy of the intervention, a mixed methods bounded case study of LIM was conducted. Watson's and Hull's theories of behaviorism support the objectives of the program. The focus of the research questions was on determining whether students' behavior, academic achievement, and leadership skills had changed based on their participation in the program. Quantitative data consisted of standardized test scores in the areas of reading and mathematics, administrative records, and a faculty survey. Qualitative data consisted of 10 interviews, which were conducted with a stratified purposeful sample of 3rd through 5th grade teachers participating in the program at the school. Quantitative data were analyzed using analysis of variance while qualitative data were coded and analyzed for common themes. Using these methods, a significant decrease in the instances of negative classroom behaviors was noted in relation to an increase in leadership behaviors of students in the LIM program. Interview data revealed the presence of a positive culture of leadership and learning in the classroom. Based on study findings, a policy recommendation paper advocating adoption of the leadership program was created. Adoption of the LIM program may help educators in better preparing students to be responsible individuals who use their leadership skills to positively impact their own learning and school and community cultures.