Leader Development among Secondary School Students in the Mid-Atlantic Region

Secondary Education    Students

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TITLE: Leader Development among Secondary School Students in the Mid-Atlantic Region
RESEARCHER: Michael T. Peyton
School of Education
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (North Carolina)
Unpublished doctoral dissertation: Spring 2012

The purpose of this research was to examine how the educational approach impacts leader development among secondary students at selected schools in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States.

Six categories of educational approaches were delineated: public nonmilitary, public military, Christian nonmilitary, Christian military, private nonsectarian nonmilitary, and private nonsectarian military. Two schools from each of the six categories were contacted, but only one agreed to participate in the category of public nonmilitary, Christian military, and private nonsectarian military. Students in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades were invited to participate after school, and offered free pizza in return for their participation. While participation rates varied between the schools (from 6 to 49), a total of 281 students completed the Student version of the Leadership Practices Inventory. The researcher argued that the validity and reliability of the Student LPI, while generally reported for college students, would not be impacted for secondary students “as the semantics and syntactics are not beyond middle school readability with a grade level readability of 5.6 using Gunning’s FOG readability formula” (p. 54).

The public schools, both nonmilitary and military, recorded the highest and second highest scores in all five leadership practice categories. According to the researcher: “The fact that these three schools, in three different states, drawing their constituent students from average to below-average socio-economic strata is all the more conspicuous” (p. 65). Students from Christian schools, both military and nonmilitary, tended to demonstrate leadership practices more often than their private nonsectarian counterparts. ANOVA indicated a statistically significant difference on the five leadership practices by educational approach. The researcher concludes: “The data suggested that public schools, military and nonmilitary, are developing leadership practices among their students to a greater degree, followed closely by Christian education, then private nonsectarian education” (p. 83).