Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award



Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Dr. Andrew Lumpe

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Dr. Julie McElhany

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Dr. Mark Weatherly


As a robust public education system is critical to the future of the U.S. democracy, efforts to improve or reform education have been prominent since its inception. Unfortunately, recent strategies to improve academic achievement have not been successful, and unintended consequences were noted for both students and staff. A specific issue related to modern reform was the construct that the focus on the whole child was disappearing as educators focused solely on the cognitive aspects of their students. The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of recently graduated high school students in an effort to determine if the modern educational reform movement had negatively altered classroom conditions in terms of the concepts of the whole child. The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development’s whole child framework was modified to a student-facing questionnaire. This survey, along with the Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction and Frustration Scale and the demographic questions of gender and postsecondary status, were delivered to recent high school graduates. The quantitative study consisted of 103 respondents who answered all of the questions from the survey. The Whole Child Student Survey was determined valid and reliable, and there was a significant correlation between the tenets of the whole child and the tenets of the self-determination theory of motivation. Significant differences were found in the perceptions of students who were in a two- or four-year college with those who were in a trade school, the military, or the workforce. Evidence was found for the connection between a student’s autonomy, their intrinsic motivation, student engagement, and academic achievement.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.