Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Theresa Pulos

Second Supervisor

Shawn Van Scoy


The culture of high school is increasingly dominated by grades, pressure to get into an elite college, and meeting personal expectations as well as those of parents, teachers, and peers. This quantitative action research study examines the relationship between demographic variables, such as gender, grade level, and course load, and the constructs of high school student perceived level of stress, sources of stress, and attitudes about academic integrity. In addition, the present study creates a model that explains how these variables predict the frequency students use academically dishonest behaviors. The study used archival data from a district sponsored survey. Results from this study indicate gender and grade level were significant predictors of students’ perceived stress, academic stress, and social stress, with course load as a significant predictor of academic stress. Gender and course load were significant predictors of students’ attitudes about academic integrity behaviors. Course load, social stress, and acceptability were significant predictors of the frequency students used academically dishonest behaviors. As a result of this study, school districts should examine current homework, grading, and assessment practices in an effort to mitigate student stress. In addition, schools should consider the introduction of honor codes and/or rigorous education about academic integrity in order to create a culture to integrity and clearly educate students on what is and is not academically acceptable behavior.

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