Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Paula A. Cordeiro, EdD, Chair; Dr. Fred J. Galloway, EdD, Member; Robert Donmoyer, PhD, Member


academic achievement, adolescents, British Columbia (Canada), empirical examination, gender, Human development, rural, self-esteem, southwestern Canada


As school systems across North America struggle to redefine themselves, educators everywhere are seeking a balance between academic achievement and the human and social needs of their students. The purpose of this correlational study was to quantitatively assess the construct of the school experience, as determined by academic achievement, as measured by GPA, and the level of involvement in school activities, from the perspective of four measures of student self-esteem. Data were collected from 263 students in grades 6, 8, 10, and 12 in a small district in southwestern Canada. The first part of this study explored the relationship between student self-esteem and four independent variables: GPA, level of involvement, grade level, and gender. The Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory was used to measure self-esteem on four scales. As a result of multiple regression analysis it was found that the R2 values were very low in all cases (ranging from 0.20 to 0.36), which indicates that the factors studied were poor indicators of self-esteem and that there was a great deal unexplained variation associated with the data. GPA, level of involvement, grade and GPA: grade were significant at .05 level of significance. Gender was not a significant factor in this study. It appears that self-esteem is linearly related to GPA, with the intercept depending on the grade, level of involvement, and gender and the slope depending on the grade. The relationship between GPA and self-esteem was strongest at Grade 6. Self-esteem was found to be strongest for students who were heavily involved in school-related or extra-curricular activities. Eleven survey questions regarding the school experience were analyzed using logistical regression analysis, which showed that the importance of getting good grades and participating in school activities varied according to grade and gender. Academic achievement was most important to Grade 6 students, good grades were more important to girls, than boys, and the association between getting good grades and self-esteem was strongest at Grade 6. This study suggests the current focus on intellectual development in most schools may not have the desired effect on social and human development, more specifically, the development of healthy self-esteem.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access