ERIC Number: EJ1072559
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Oct
Abstractor: As Provided
Arrested Development? Comparing Educational Leadership Students with National Norms on Moral Reasoning
Greer, Jennifer L.; Searby, Linda J.; Thoma, Stephen J.
Educational Administration Quarterly, v51 n4 p511-542 Oct 2015
Purpose: The public expects school leaders to be moral exemplars, yet prior research indicates that teachers and, more recently, school principals may score lower than other career groups on a widely used measure of moral reasoning, the Defining Issues Test. Moreover, little empirical research has been conducted on educators during leadership preparation in graduate school. The purpose of this research was to create a baseline profile for moral reasoning in educational leadership/administration graduate students in one Southern state and to compare their scores with a composite national average for graduate students across disciplines to see if educational interventions are needed. Research Design: In the summer of 2012, the updated Defining Issues Test-2 was offered via e-mail as an online questionnaire to 539 master's, educational specialist, and doctoral students in the five advanced-track schools in the study state. The questionnaire also gathered data on the students' demographics and the virtual test-taking environment. Findings: Complete data for 113 respondents (a 21% response rate) show that the educational leadership/administration graduate students prefer a maintaining norms schema when solving moral problems. In fact, participants scored significantly lower (M = 30) on postconventional (advanced) moral thinking than the national norm for graduate students across disciplines (M = 41) and a historical average for graduate students (M = 53) on the Defining Issues Test. Conclusions: Researchers urge evidenced-based educational interventions for this group--specifically, Rest's four-component model, which addresses all four moral psychological processes: sensitivity, judgment, motivation, and character. They also recommend beginning ethics instruction with professional identity development. Classification: This is an empirical study.
Descriptors: Instructional Leadership, Comparative Analysis, Profiles, Moral Values, Graduate Students, Questionnaires, Internet, Scores, Principals, Leadership Training, Administrator Education, Intellectual Disciplines, Educational Administration, Intervention, Student Attitudes, Schemata (Cognition), National Norms, Problem Solving, Thinking Skills, Models, Moral Development, Ethical Instruction, Decision Making, Interpersonal Competence, Ethics, Professional Identity
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Defining Issues Test
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A