Publication Date

Spring 2020

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Randall Capps (Director), Joseph Cangemi, and Stephan Walters

Degree Program

Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, and Research

Degree Type

Doctor of Education


This study focused on drawing a picture of the dynamics and educational experiences of U.S. Army junior-enlisted soldiers in the rank of specialist in the RA. Those soldiers are eligible to participate in the U.S. Army’s VolEd Program available worldwide. According to Gleiman and Zacharakis (2016):

The military relies on continuing professional education as a key component to the success of its organization. With decreasing budgets and increasing importance for a force that operates efficiently and thinks critically, the cognitive tension among training, education, and learning come center stage. (p. 81)

The researcher formed the research questions (RQs) sought to generate information about how soldiers use their educational benefits to forecast possible Army’s VolEd enhancements to ensure the Army’s leadership development goals are met.

The U.S. Army’s ITAPDB was used to gather the pre-existing data and to provide analysis. Statistical analysis determined there were few significant relationships between demographic, educational, and military-service related variable groups. However, stronger statistical significance was found when a cross-variable approach was implemented. Within the context of this model, the demographic variables of marital status, soldier’s age, and ethnicity had statistically significant differences on average grade point average (GPA) and end-of-course passing grades. The military service related variables of a soldier’s military occupational specialty/career management field/pay entrance basic date (MOS/CMF/PEBD) and years in service indicated statistically significant differences on GPA and passing grades. The educational variables of GPA, class count, Basic Skills Education Program (BSEP), CivEd level, and general technical (GT) score showed statistically significant differences on GPA and passes.

In addition, when examining between-group covariances, the variable of soldier’s age indicated a statistically significant difference on GT score and CivEd level. Finally, when examining the quantitative comparison between TA and non-TA user groups, findings showed that CivEd and PEBD, CivEd and age, CivEd and number of years in service, and GT score and MOS for both TA and non-TA users were statistically significant.

By knowing the factors that influenced a soldier’s degree completion, and understanding mechanisms behind the process of participation in adult lifelong learning, the U.S. Army can improve measures that influence satisfaction of education benefits and can provide an improved overall perspective on a soldier’s participation in VolEd Program. This study may help refine and redesign the U.S. Army’s VolEd policies and procedures to enhance the program participation in alignment with the U.S. Army’s goal to shape and guide the development of future organizational leaders, while increasing the collective understanding of leader development dynamics through VolEd within and beyond the American military context.


Adult and Continuing Education | Educational Leadership | Military, War, and Peace