Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership


The purpose of this study was to analyze data to determine the effectiveness of the Character Counts! education program taught in a mid-sized midwestern public school district. Four independent evaluators compared the Six Pillars of Character to questions from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). Four research questions asked whether differences of the YRBS scores of risk behavior related to the character pillars of Character Counts! as linked by the independent evaluators. Questions asked whether there were differences in middle-school student scores from 2001 to 2003 as measured by the YRBS, between males and females, and whether there was a relationship between the students' scores on the four character pillars and risk behaviors on the YRBS in middle-school students. Another question asked if there were differences in the character pillars based on four risk factors.

Significant differences were found between the student scores in 2001 and 2003. Flowever, the scores reported a decrease in the number of positive behaviors from 2001 to 2003. No differences were found between males and females in the two survey reports. A significant negative relationship was found between the character pillars and risk behaviors. The findings suggested that positive behavior changes were difficult to quantify. Recommendations include integrating character education into the entire school program with appropriate staff development for teachers and administrators.