Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

Degree Level



Curriculum and Instruction


Kevin P. Brady

Committee Member

Kara Lasater

Second Committee Member

Marcia Smith


Curriculum, Direct Instruction, Independent School, Inquiry, Inquiry Based Learning, Private School, Student Achievement


The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of an inquiry-based learning model (IBLM) in a small, independent school educational environment. Seisan Academy (SA) implemented a new teaching philosophy that centered around an inquiry-based learning approach with a focus on developing a more student-centered culture at the school. This new program was implemented with little feedback or measurement regarding the effectiveness of the approach. This study also looked to address the lack of formal evaluation regarding the implementation of the IBLM.

Multiple sampling strategies were implemented due to the mixed-methods nature of this study. Quantitative data collection included four years of American College Testing (ACT) scores and four years of school enrollment data from the years 2014 to 2017. This data was collected from four years of senior classes. The total number of ACT scores collected was for 309 students. SA’s enrollment and attrition rates from 2014 to 2017 were obtained from SA’s Blackbaud database. The quantitative data was used to identify trends or themes in ACT scores, enrollment figures, and attrition percentages and to measure the IBLM’s impact on these particular measures.

The results of the research indicated an increase in student achievement scores during the school’s shift to an IBLM. The results of the study also established an increase in student enrollment and a decrease in student attrition that could be attributed to multiple factors related to increased constituent satisfaction. The study also indicated constituents of the school generally hold positive perceptions of the IBLM at SA. Finally, the study indicated the positive perceptions by constituents of the school in regard to a more student-centered culture.