Source: Teachers College Record, Volume 111 Number 12, 2009.
Background: Results of the few studies that have investigated moral reasoning in education students suggest that such reasoning may be less advanced for them than for college students with non–education majors and that education students do not appear to advance in moral reasoning from freshman to senior year.
Setting: The study was conducted in undergraduate classrooms at the University of Nevada, Reno, a Western Land Grant institution.
Participants: 94 undergraduate elementary and 98 secondary education majors and 42 undergraduate students majoring in English literature and philosophy participated in the study.
Research Design: The study was a quasi-experimental design.
Data Collection and Analysis: Undergraduate education students enrolled in four sections of an introduction to educational psychology course received interventions designed to advance moral reasoning. English and philosophy courses were chosen as control groups. Over a period of 5 weeks, students in the intervention groups were taught moral development theories and participated in online dilemma discussion. An additional 3 weeks were devoted to pretesting and post-testing activities.
Results: A 2 ׳ 5 mixed analysis of variance (ANOVA; time by group) with repeated measures on time was conducted to analyze pre- and posttest2 DIT P-scores for all five subgroups. Significant increases in mean DIT P-scores were found for the elementary and secondary intervention groups but not for the control groups. Gains in both the elementary and secondary groups were maintained at posttest2 at the end of the semester, but there were no significant differences from posttest1 to posttest2. To determine the effectiveness of hypothetical versus real-life dilemma discussion on moral reasoning, a 2 ׳ 3 mixed ANOVA (time by group) was conducted. The ANOVA main effect for time and the interaction were significant, whereas the main effect for group was not significant.