Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Leadership PhD

First Advisor

Elvin Gabriel

Second Advisor

Wilfred G. A. Futcher

Third Advisor

James Jeffrey


Problem. There is an increasing demand for quality education. In his initiative for education reform, U.S. President George W. Bush promoted the concept of no child left behind, in which he calls for more accountability. It is useful to examine student perceptions of how well the education system functions. Instead of a monolithic view, their perceptions were analyzed by birth order, gender, and ethnicity. The purpose of this study was to determine to what extent student perceptions differed by their birth order, gender, and ethnicity.

Method. This study utilized a 4 x 2 x 2 (birth order by gender by ethnicity) factorial design with a survey as the method for data collection. The instrument used in collection of data was the School Effective Questionnaire (SEQ). It is an instrument consisting of 48 items on school effectiveness to which 412 respondents used a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1, strongly disagree, to 5, strongly agree, to evaluate their schools. The instrument has seven scales. The statistical analysis was performed using a 4 x 2 x 2 ANOVA.

Results. The results of this study indicated that birth order was not a significant discriminating factor. There was no significant difference in student perceptions on any of the seven dimensions in this study based on birth order. The one small exception was on the dimension, maximum opportunities for learning for African American females. Firstborn African American females had significantly higher mean scores than the last-born counterparts. There was a slight increase in the number of variables with significant difference between males and females. Males had a significantly higher mean than females on the dimension, positive school climate. On the dimension, maximum opportunities for learning, middle-born and last-born males had significantly higher means than middle-born and last-bom females. On five of the seven dimensions, Caucasians had significantly higher mean scores than African Americans. Even though African Americans had higher mean scores than Caucasians on the dimension, emphasis on basic skills, it was not significant.

Conclusions. Birth order was not a significant factor in this study, except in one small sector of the population. Gender, as an independent variable, was more discriminating than birth order, but did not overwhelmingly influence student perceptions. Ethnicity, as the literature suggested, played the greatest role in influencing student perceptions.

Subject Area

High school seniors--Michigan, Education, Secondary--Michigan--Evaluation.


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