The relationship of moral judgment, critical thinking, and gender among college students

Joyce Payne Anderson, Fordham University

Abstract

The main purpose of this study was to determine the relationship, if any, between moral judgment and critical thinking competence of college students. The instrument utilized for the measurement of moral judgment was the Defining Issues Test (Rest, 1972) in which the subject rates and ranks 12 statements about their relative importance in six social (moral) dilemmas. The score is expressed as a raw score or as a "DIT-P" score which identifies the percentage of level five and six responses (i.e., principled thinking) used by the subject.^ The instrument utilized for the measurement of critical thinking was the 80-item, Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal--Form A (Watson-Glaser, 1980), with five subtests (Inference, Recognition of Assumptions, Deduction, Interpretation and Evaluation of Arguments). The subject is asked to recognize statements of critical thinking. The score is expressed as a raw score or it can be related to tabled normative data in the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal Manual (Watson-Glaser, 1980).^ The second purpose of the study was to examine differences, if any, in critical thinking competence and moral judgment of college students at each class level, as measured by each instrument. The third purpose of the study was to analyze the mean scores received on each instrument for the effect of gender.^ The subjects for the investigation were 302 students from a small, private, four-year liberal arts college in the Northeast. There were 88 male and 214 female students from five class levels. The incoming freshmen were tested during the August orientation and the current freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors, selected from randomly selected core courses, were tested during the Spring semester.^ The investigator reported a significant relationship for the female subjects, but not for the male subjects, between moral judgment and critical thinking at the.05 level of significance. The investigator found no significant differences, at the.05 level of significance, in the mean scores of moral judgment or critical thinking due to class level or gender. ^

Subject Area

Educational sociology|Educational psychology|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Anderson, Joyce Payne, "The relationship of moral judgment, critical thinking, and gender among college students" (1988). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8821950.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8821950

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