Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Peter Kiriakidis


Researchers have expressed concern that current educational reform and its focus on psychometrics does not address the skills students will need to prosper in the 21st century. Several researchers have attempted to identify and measure those skills. The purpose of this quasi-experimental mixed-methods study was: (a) to test for a strong link between the emotional components of learning and academic achievement, and (b) to determine if direct teaching of the learning domains as identified by the Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory (ELLI) strengthens learning confidence. Using a convenience sample of 103 eighth-grade students at a Midwest suburban middle school, this study sought to determine if a correlation existed between growth in students' learning profiles and their growth in academic achievement in reading and mathematics, as measured by the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) test. Pre- and posttests on the ELLI and the MAP tests, student self-assessments, and student, parent, and teacher surveys comprised the data. Data analysis consisted of independent t-tests to determine variation in growth between the treatment and control groups for the ELLI and MAP tests, and a one-way ANOVA to determine differences in growth in learning domains and in academic performance between the two groups. The t-tests indicated a significant difference between groups on the ELLI but not the MAP tests. A statistically significant correlation was found between growth in resilience and mathematics and between direct instruction and learning confidence. Qualitative data, coded for learning domains and emerging themes, indicated perceived growth in learning confidence. Educators, students, and policy makers may benefit from incorporating the ELLI into educational reform efforts that seek to develop students into lifelong learners who are prepared for the 21st century.