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The LEQ as a Tool for Measuring
the Effects of Personal Development Intervention Programs

James Neill
Last updated:
23 Dec 2004

The LEQ can be used to research and evaluate the outcomes of programs which aim to enhance student's personal and social development.  The LEQ focuses on general personal effectiveness skills which tend to be aims of programs such as outdoor education, camps, and community-based interventions.

By using the LEQ you can get a deeper level of analysis into the effects of different courses on course participants.  It is an excellent tool for monitoring program effectiveness and is an efficient way to develop a long-term database documenting program quality.  When analyzed and interpreted, the results can be informative for program coordinators and instructors to help improve program quality.

Whether positive growth occurs depends on the quality of programming, particularly program philosophy and program design, not to mention the actual implementation of the program and the individuals involved.

The LEQ is increasingly being used to help evaluate experiential intervention programs.  The LEQ is suitable for students aged approximately 12 years and over.  The LEQ has been used in approximately 20 different research studies to date, including several graduate theses, and has gained increasing attention as a promising tool.

A shorter-version of the instrument is available for younger students (containing one or two items per factor).  Observer versions (e.g,. to get assessments from  teachers or parents) have also been developed.  In addition, customized versions are available for measuring corporate adventure training program outcomes and youth at risk program outcomes.

It is cautioned that the LEQ may not cover all the intended outcomes of a particular program.  People considering using the LEQ in their study are advised to closely examine the areas measured by the LEQ and to determine whether the LEQ covers the intended goals of the program of interest.  It is important to determine whether other measurement instruments may be more appropriate than the LEQ.  Choosing reliable and valid instrumentation  is a vital for conducting good quality empirical research and evaluation (How to Choose Instrumentation - read more). 

Typically one-group, pre-post research designs have been used, although researchers are encouraged to include long-term followup assessments and control or comparison groups where possible.