Research on Leader in Me Reveals Positive Impacts
Author: Dr. Eve Patterson
New Research on the Impacts of Leader in Me
Six independent studies, including three peer-reviewed journal articles, were recently posted to the Leader in Me’s research webpage, “What is the Impact?”. The studies were all conducted by university researchers and highlight positive impacts on academics and student behavior related to the Leader in Me. Links to the full articles, as well as a short summary of each study’s findings, are available on the research webpage, but here is a quick overview.
Positive Academic Impacts
Two of the newly posted studies explored the relationship between the Leader in Me and academic achievement. A study out of the University of North Florida found a 92% alignment between the practices of the Leader in Me and the proposed best science classroom practices within the Next Generation Science Standards. Given this close alignment, the researchers then analyzed science proficiency rates in Leader in Me schools and found a significant 6.7% improvement from their pre-TLIM performance.
In the second academically focused study, a Texas A&M researcher found that Lighthouse Leader in Me schools performed better on state math and ELA tests compared to non-Leader in Me schools and Leader in Me schools that had not reached the level of Lighthouse implementation designation. This finding is interesting as it highlights the relationship between implementation of the Leader in Me and academic outcomes not seen in schools with lower, or no, implementation.
Improved Student Behavior
Much of the newly posted research supports what we have seen in Leader in Me schools for years; the earliest visible benefit of student leadership is often improvement in students’ day-to-day behaviors. Four of the newly posted studies explored various aspects of these behavioral improvements.
Two of the four behavioral studies focused on improvements in student disciplinary issues related to Leader in Me implementation. In the first study, published in the Journal of Education and Human Development, researchers found student disciplinary issues decreased more in schools with higher reported levels of Leader in Me implementation.
Similarly, a researcher at Benedictine University found a consistent drop in discipline referrals in a Chicago junior high following the implementation of the Leader in Me at its two elementary feeder schools. From the time Leader in Me students moved into junior high, over the course of five years of steady decline, the junior high’s discipline referrals dropped a total 88%. The researcher concluded that such a continued and dramatic decline is evidence of a long-term behavioral shift for students in Leader in Me schools.
Researchers out of St. John’s University added to the behavioral impacts of the Leader in Me through their findings that suggest the Leader in Me not only decreases bad behaviors, it also increases positive behaviors. After a two week training in the 7 Habits and other leadership practices, pre-k students were more likely to exhibit positive social behaviors with classmates than a class in the same school that did not have the same leadership training.
The last of the behavioral studies found that leadership can impact more than students’ social interactions, it can also impact choices students make about nutrition and physical exercise. Research published in the journal Health Promotion International found students who self-reported more leadership behaviors, were more likely to get more physical activity and eat more of the fruits and vegetables provided by the school.
The amount of scholarly research demonstrating the positive impacts related to the Leader in Me continues to increase. This newest set of research studies provide insight on the importance of implementing the full Leader in Me process to make the biggest difference in the lives of students. It also demonstrates that far more may be understood about this relationship through further research investigations. We encourage you to check out the newly added studies and the other great articles already available on the “What is the Impact?” research webpage.