ERIC Number: ED196763
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1979
The Impact of Higher Education on Moral Judgment Development. Project Report 1.
Rest, James R.
The document discusses the nature of moral judgment, reviews previous studies which link higher education to moral judgment, and presents results of a longitudinal study comparing college and non-college subjects. This project report from the Higher Education and Cognitive-Social Development Project at the University of Minnesota is presented in three sections. In Section I the motivational and cognitive theories of moral education are discussed. In the motivational theory, the goal of moral education is to change the individual's motives from selfish, impulsive, and unsocial to altruistic, disciplined, and social. The cognitive theory portrays the goal of education as developing the individual's understanding about how people interact with each other. Lawrence Kohlberg's six stages of moral development and a review of research on cognitive development are presented. Section II summarizes research on the impact of higher education on moral judgment as measured by the Defining Issues Test (DIT), which constitutes the largest data base on a single measure of moral judgment. Results indicate that changes in moral development occur over long periods of time and apparently not through the teaching of specific doctrines. Section III reports results of a longitudinal study by the author to determine if college students show greater gains in moral judgment development than non-college students. The 59 subjects were tested during high school, two years after, then four years after the initial test. Thirty-eight subjects had gone to college, 18 had not (for three subjects the classification was ambiguous). Participants in the third testing completed the DIT, the Comprehension of Moral Concepts Test, Law and Order Political Attitudes, and a "life history." Results indicate that higher education fosters development in moral judgment, particularly at the four year mark. (Author/KC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Information Analyses; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Minnesota Univ., Minneapolis.
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Defining Issues Test