King, Joyce

An Evaluation of a Character Education Program at an Elementary School

The purpose of this applied dissertation study was to evaluate a character education program at a Southeastern county elementary school. There had been an increasing rate of office discipline referrals, and the school’s leadership team sought ways to deal with the issue. The team discovered that the school district received a grant from the state that would allow the school to implement a character education program. The strategy implemented was the Second Step program.

After the Second Step program had been implemented for several months, the leadership team decided that it would be important to evaluate the program. The results could be used to make recommendations to improve the program. The researcher used Stufflebeam’s (2003) context, input, process, product model to guide the study. Quantitative and qualitative data were gathered from various sources.

The data indicated that the number of referrals decreased during the treatment year when compared with the total number for the previous year. The results showed that the program was implemented as designed but also indicated that many faculty members felt the program was forced on them. The program ended in 1 year after the principal left for a central office position. The data showed that a similar program was also started and stopped the previous year. The results suggested that there is a pattern of starting and stopping programs over a brief period of time, which could have a negative effect on the program’s impact. Consequently, it was recommended that the teachers and the principal should be involved in the selection, development, and planning of future programs. Full acceptance is less likely to happen if the whole school staff is not involved in the change process.