School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Judy Sandlin


Academic Outcomes, Academic Performance, Character Development, Character Education, Moral Education, Soft Skills


Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Educational Psychology


The purpose of this non-experimental causal-comparative study sought to determine if character development curriculum directly impacted student success, specifically in the area of academics through standardized test scores. Many articles presented an explanation regarding the need for character development curriculum, but very little research has been done regarding the positive academic impact on standardized test scores. By utilizing a quantitative design, standardized test scores for 168 students in third grade were collected from one school district and analyzed to determine a difference between scores in Language Arts and Math through the statistical MANOVA test. The standardized test scores for the elementary students were compared between two schools in the same school district, where one school implemented the character development curriculum through the Leader in Me Program and the other school lacked implementation. Quantitative data in the form of standardized test scores were collected and analyzed in order to determine if the implementation of a character education curriculum had an impact on standardized scores, specifically the through a state system of school assessment. Results showed a significant statistical difference in the 3rd grade English Language Arts test scores and Mathematics scores on a State System of School Assessment between students who have been exposed to a character development curriculum versus students who have not. Elementary students exposed to The Leader in Me program do not overperform when compared to students at the same grade level, with similar demographics, and within the same school district. Recommendations for future research include looking at more grade levels, multiple years of implementation, and the overall implementation of The Leader in Me Program.