Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication, Department of


First Advisor

L. J. McElravy

Date of this Version


Document Type



A thesis presented to the faculty of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree of Master of Science

Major: Leadership Education

Under the supervision of Professor L. J. McElravy

Lincoln, Nebraska, December 2018


Copyright 2019, Jessica Bartak


The purpose of this study is to develop and validate a scale to measure the level of engagement of youth in their community or organization using the construct of youth voice. Youth voice consists of three levels: being heard, collaborating with adults, and building leadership capacity. An initial list of 40 items were developed (13 being heard, 13 collaborating with adults, and 14 building leadership capacity). Youth development experts and youth leadership experts were invited to complete a survey to assess the content validity of the items developed for the youth voice scale. The data collected from 50 participants were subjected to the Kendall-Wallis H test and pairwise comparisons. Items that had significant results and appeared to measure the construct that they were designed to measure were then subjected to a factor analysis. The scale was reduced to 29 items (6 being heard, 11 collaborating with adults, and 12 building leadership capacity). The scale serves as a starting point to help youth leadership development practitioners assess the level of youth voice in their programming.

Advisor: L.J. McElravy