Term of Award

Winter 2001

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Administration

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Harbison Pool

Committee Member 1

Cordelia Douzenis

Committee Member 2

Cathy Jordiing

Committee Member 3

Jane Page


The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between students" level of character development and their behavior, academic achievement, and attendance. A random sample of 324 seventh and eighth grade students from Burke County (Georgia) Middle School were selected to participate in the study. The questionnaire was administered to 305 students to determine their level of character development. Ninety-one percent of the students returned usable surveys. They were asked to rate how often they exhibited 39 skills used to measure the level of character development. Each skill belonged to one or more of four categories: (a) Cooperation, (b) Assertiveness, (c) Empathy, and (d) Self-Control.

The data regarding students' behavior (number of discipline referrals), academic achievement (Stanford Achievement Test 9 percentile rank scores), and attendance ( number of days absent from school) were obtained from the school's student data management system. Data for the 2000-2001 academic year were used in the study.

The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences was used for all statistical analysis. Descriptive statistics were calculated for biographic data, predictor variables, and criterion variables. Pearson's correlations showed the interrelationships among variables. Multiple regressions were calculated to determine the relationships between level of character development and students' behavior, academic performance, and attendance.

Results from this study indicated that students" level of character was significantly related to student behavior and academic achievement. There was no relationship between their level of character development and their attendance. The relationship of level of character development to discipline referrals was negative, in that as level of character development increased the number of discipline referrals decreased. The relationship to academic achievement was positive. Only a small amount of the variance for student behavior and academic achievement was accounted for by the variables in this study. The variance in student attendance was not explained. Additional studies are needed for further investigation of the relationship of character development to student behavior, academic achievement, and attendance.


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