Type of Document Dissertation Author Cooper, Merryl Hope Taylor URN etd-12012004-112429 Title The Moral Judgment of Students Violating a University Disciplinary Code Degree Doctor of Education Department Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Robert A. Schwartz Committee Co-Chair Shouping Hu Committee Co-Chair Beverly Bower Committee Member Diana Rice Committee Member Jon Dalton Committee Member Keywords
- Judicial Affairs
- College Students
- Moral Judgment
- Defining Issues Test-2
Date of Defense 2004-11-29 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe research outlined in this study attempted to identify and understand the moral judgment levels of students who violated a university conduct code. An effort was made to identify the differences between levels of moral judgment, the type of code violation, and selected demographic variables, such as age, gender, Greek affiliation, grade point average, and class level for two groups of students. A control group of students who was not involved in the judicial process at the time of data collection and a group of students found responsible for violating a university conduct code during a 12-week period were examined for comparison. Scores for moral judgment were found by using the Defining Issues Test-2 (Rest & Narvaez, 1998). The difference in the moral judgment level of students who had violated the conduct code and those who had not was the primary focus of the study.
Based on the results, it is reasonable to conclude that students who violated the university conduct code reasoned at a lower level of moral judgment than students who did not violate the code. None of the independent variables (age, class level, gender, GPA, and Greek affiliation) showed a moderate or strong influence on the moral judgment scores for either group of students. Additionally, no distinction in moral judgment scores could be made between the type of violation (alcohol vs. all other violations) for the student offender group. Therefore, the results merit further, more comprehensive research on the influence of violation type on moral judgment.
This study was intended to provide baseline information regarding the moral judgment of student offenders. Student judicial affairs professionals may incorporate the concepts of developing moral judgment into their work with students as educational opportunities exist through the hearing and sanctioning process. In reviewing longitudinal studies at colleges and universities, Rest et al.(1999) concluded that “the critical characteristic of a college for promoting moral judgment seems to be a commitment to critical reflection” (p. 73). The results of this study indicate that the students who violated the conduct code demonstrate that their ability to reason at a post-conventional level was less developed than other students as reflected on the DIT2. Thus, a commitment to activities such as critical reflection during the hearing and sanctioning process seems to be an important avenue toward helping students understand their responsibilities while living in an academic community or at the very least, on their own for the first time in their lives.
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