College of Education Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 6-14-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Gayle Mindes, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Melissa Ockerman, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

James Wolfinger, Ph.D

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to assess whether bullying behaviors were impacted by the character education curriculum Character Counts! in fourth and seventh grade students. More specifically, over time are the perceptions that the students had of bullying behaviors impacted and is there a difference between the perceptions that boys and girls had of these behaviors. A survey was given to fourth and seventh grade students in a school district in a northern suburb of Chicago for three consecutive years, 2004, 2005 and 2006. The goal of the survey was to see if Character Counts! was having an impact. By using the results from this survey, questions that were directly related to bullying and bullying behaviors were analyzed. A total of nine questions were analyzed. An ex-post facto design was used for the study. Approximately 3,600 students participated in the survey over three years. The students had been exposed to the Character Counts! curriculum since 2000. The students surveyed were predominantly Caucasian and Hispanic attending public schools. Character Counts! might have had an impact on the amount of bullying that was occurring. The impact measured in this study was not enough to really know for certain if there was a change in bullying behaviors. Character Counts! does some things well. It provides a common vocabulary for students, teachers, families, and communities to discuss values as these impact students functioning in a social environment. However, the ambiguity in some of the data related specifically to bullying leads this researcher to believe that there would be a need to do this survey or other surveys again.

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