Psychometric Properties of The Student Leadership Practices Inv

  • The data collected over a two-year period (August 2007 - August 2009) from the online administration of the Student LPI shows continued strong support for the psychometric properties of the instrument. Internal reliability coefficients are generally strong for both the Self and Observer versions of the Student LPI. Scores from Observers are generally higher than those reported by Self respondents.


    Analysis of demographic characteristics indicates that year in school makes a difference in the reported frequency to which student leaders engaged in the five leadership practices. With more years of schooling, reflected in age and opportunities, respondents made greater use of the five leadership practices. The results by gender do not reveal any particular consistency, with females reported engaging in some practices more than males and males reported engaging in some practices more than females. While the overall analysis by ethnicity shows a significant difference between Persons of Color and Whites/Caucasians, further comparisons indicate that this is mostly due to differences between Asian/Pacific Islander respondents and the other comparison groups (Black/African Americans, Hispanics, and White/Caucasians). Finally, the results indicate that students from the United States report a significantly greater use of the five leadership practices than do their counterparts outside the U.S.


    Effectiveness assessments show a consistent pattern supporting the validity of the Student LPI. The more effective or skillful respondents report themselves being, in turn, the more they indicate engaging in the five leadership practices. This is true from both the leader‟s (Self) perspective as well as the perspective of their constituents (Observers). Likewise, as the leadership experience reported by leaders increases so does their reported frequency of using the five leadership practices. As well, the more developmental opportunities that leaders indicate they have participated in, the more frequently do they report engaging in the five leadership practices. These latter results are supported by the finding that college students report engaging in the five leadership practices more frequently than do high school students, presumably because they have had either more leadership experiences or more leadership development opportunities.


    While U.S. participants indicated greater use of the five leadership practices than do their counterparts outside of the United States, these differences do not obscure the fact that analyses revealed that the general relationship found between the use of the leadership practices and effectiveness did not vary between those students within or outside of the United States. Likewise, analyses by year in school, gender and ethnicity reveal that while there may be differences between people based on these demographic variables, the same patterns are found within these categories between those who were below and above average in effectiveness. That is, those who engaged more versus less in the five leadership practices are seen by themselves and others as more effective leaders. This finding lends further credence to the instrument‟s validity.


    Given these results about the psychometric properties of the Student LPI, leadership educators and student leaders themselves should have confidence that the instrument is a reliable assessment of their leadership behavior and valid indicator of their leadership effectiveness. The Student LPI can be used to establish baseline (first-time) data about the behaviors and skills of student leaders that can be used to further their subsequent leadership development.


    The Student LPI can assess changes in leadership skills through administration of pre and post-treatment interventions (e.g., Posner, 2009).


    In this way, the Student LPI can be employed by participants themselves as well as educators to track improvements in leadership behaviors over time.