Date of Award


Degree Name

Curriculum and Instruction


College of Education

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Ron Childress

Second Advisor

Lisa A. Heaton

Third Advisor

Sam Securro

Fourth Advisor

Beth Pauley


Discussions regarding moral development and subsequent behavior are common in political and philosophical arenas. The consensus is that resolutions of moral dilemmas are best accomplished through careful deliberation and the use of principled moral reasoning. The purpose of this study was to examine changes in moral development in undergraduate college students who participated in an outcomes based education program. The study also investigated the influence of certain demographic and attribute variables on moral development within the same population.

This study examined extant data from 295 University of Charleston (UC) students who took the Defining Issues Test as freshmen and then again during their senior capstone. Paired samples t-tests produced statistically significant evidence of movement toward post-conventional methods and away from the use of lower level conventional modalities when resolving moral dilemmas. The result of paired sample t-tests and ANOVA comparing demographic and attribute variables to changes in DIT-2 sub-scores showed mixed results. Overall, students’ capacity to resolve moral dilemmas using higher order thinking was demonstrably strengthened. However, there were insufficient data to suggest that any one group within the overall cohort encountered educational interventions that significantly affected that ability more so than the entire population.


Educational tests & measurements.

Moral development.