Moral judgement development in higher education: Insights from the Defining Issues Test

  • King P
  • Mayhew M
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This article reviews 172 studies that used the Defining Issues Test to investigate the moral development of undergraduate college students and provides an organisational framework for analysing educational contexts in higher education. These studies addressed collegiate outcomes related to character or civic outcomes, selected aspects of students' collegiate experiences related to moral judgement development and changes in moral reasoning during the college years as they related to changes in other domains of development. Findings suggest that dramatic gains in moral judgement are associated with collegiate participation, even after controlling for age and entering level of moral judgement. Although many studies used gross indicators of collegiate context (e.g. institutional type or academic discipline), studies that examine specific collegiate characteristics and educational experiences are better suited to identifying factors that contribute directly or indirectly to changes in moral judgement during the college years. Implications for student development practice and future research are discussed.

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  • Patricia M. King

  • Matthew J. Mayhew

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