UBC Theses and Dissertations
Using student-generated moral dilemmas to construct an objective measure of moral reasoning for intermediate elementary studies Binfet, John Tyler
This study employed a constructivistic approach to create a new objective measure of moral reasoning for use with intermediate grade, elementary students. Students rewrote three classic moral dilemmas used in Kohlberg's Moral Judgement Interview and rendered them more appealing and suitable for elementary students. From these rewritten dilemmas, a new measure of moral reasoning was constructed. One hundred and nine fifth, sixth and seventh grade students completed the new measure which consisted of ranking and rating statements corresponding to the stages of moral development for the three moral dilemmas. A Weighted Average Score was representing the pattern of percent stage usage was calculated for each student. Alpha coefficients for Inter-item consistency ranged fi"om .31 to .72 for the three different grade levels. Across all grade levels an alpha of .41 was found. Given the 3-item scale, this is not unusual. Internal consistency, as measured by Cronbach's alpha, was strongest for fifth grade students. The distribution of moral reasoning across the three levels of moral reasoning (i.e., preconventional, conventional, postconventional) revealed a consistent pattern of development. For example, pre-adolescents most frequently employed conventional reasoning and least often, postconventional reasoning. Results from an analysis of family composition and Weighted Average Scores revealed that students from non-intact families had higher moral reasoning scores than did students from intact famiUes. The disequilibrium or conflict associated with non-intact family status may promote moral reasoning growth resulting from the decision making and responsibility these students experience.
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