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William Perry’s Theory of Intellectual and Ethical Development. Laura Sensenig LPO 3462 Theory of College Student Development Professor Braxton March 16 th , 2009. The Perry Scheme.

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william perry s theory of intellectual and ethical development

William Perry’s Theory of Intellectual and Ethical Development

Laura Sensenig

LPO 3462 Theory of College Student Development

Professor Braxton

March 16th, 2009

the perry scheme
The Perry Scheme
  • The Perry scheme is a model for understanding how college students “come to know the theories and beliefs they hold about knowing, and the manner in which such epistemological premises are a part of and an influence on the cognitive processes of thinking and reasoning” (Hofer and Pintrich, 1997, p. 88).
  • William Perry and associates at Harvard developed a theory which outlines the intellectual and ethical development of college students- ’50’s and early 60’s (Evans, Forney, and Guido Di-Brito, 1998).
    • Checklist of Educational Views  the typical course of development of students’ patterns of thought (Perry, 1999).
    • Nine Positions
      • “Traces evolution in students’ thinking about the nature of knowledge, truth and values and the meaning of life and responsibilities” (King, 2006).
    • Four Main Stages
      • Simplistic, categorical view of the world  realization of the contingent nature of knowledge, values and affirmation of their own commitments
    • Purpose: Addresses “interface between intellect and identity” (King, 2006)
why study perry s theory
Why Study Perry’s Theory?
  • Tackling Ill- structured problems
    • Complicated world requires complex frameworks or ways to conceptualize the world (Perry, William G., Jr., 2005).
  • “Acts as a source of common language that can assist faculty (student affairs professionals) and students in hearing each other’s voices” (Evans, Forney, Guido-DiBrito, 1998).
  • Learning is an ego-threatening task, as is teaching (Knefelkamp, 1982, as cited in Evans, Forney and Guido-DiBrito, 1988).
  • Movement from one position to another requires psychic energy(Perry, 1999).
  • Combination of challenge and support is necessary for growth
    • Idea of “cognitive dissonance” can be jarring
    • “In order to foster growth we must ‘hear’ how our students inevitably make their own meaning out of what we say to them; and we must be ready to support them in this ego- threatening process of development”

(American Philosophical Association, 1984)

supporting theories
Supporting Theories
  • Jean Piaget – Developmental Psychology
    • Three central cognitive development assumptions
      • Structural Organization
        • “Information Processing View”
      • Developmental Sequence
        • Each progressive stage results in differentiation and integration
      • Interactionism
        • Manifestation of internal and external forces which foster development (King, 2006)
    • Kohlberg
    • Nevitt Sanford and Roy Heath  Higher Education setting
                  • (Evans, Forney and Guido-DiBrito, 1998)
nine positions
Nine Positions
  • Basic Duality
  • Dualism (Multiplicity Pre-Legitimate)
  • Early Multiplicity (Multiplicity Subordinate)
  • Late Multiplicity (a. Multiplicity Coordinate b. Relativism Subordinate)
  • Contextual Relativism
  • Commitment Foreseen

7) Initial Commitments

8) Orientation in Implications of Commitment

9) Developing Commitments

(Perry, 1981 as cited in Rapaport, 1982))

four frames king 2006
Four Frames (King, 2006)
  • Dualism- (Positions 1 and 2)
  • Multiplicity- (Positions 3 and 4)
  • Relativism- (Positions 5 and 6)
  • Commitment in Relativism- (Positions 7-9)
progressing along the continuum
Progressing along the Continuum

*Combination of Challenge and Support

  • Concepts of Developmental Progression
    • Development often occurs in irregular intervals
      • 1) Readiness
      • 2) Attainment
    • Gradual Change
    • Shifting of Focus or “Decentering” (King, 2006)

Thoma, 1993

developmental barriers
Developmental Barriers
  • Development does not always occur in a linear, chronological or systematic fashion
  • Temporizing
    • Movement is postponed – static, plateau state
      • Many be necessary for lateral growth (horizontal decalage)
  • Escape
    • An abandonment of responsibility, marked by alienation
      • Usually occurs after reaching Position # 4 (Multiplicity)
  • Retreat
    • Temporary regression to dualism
actualizing the model
Actualizing the Model
  • DI Model- Developmental Instruction Model- (Knefelkamp and Widick, 1984)
    • Four Variables of Challenge and Support
      • Structure
      • Diversity
      • Experiential Learning
      • Personalism as cited in Evans, Forney and Guido DiBrito, 1998).
    • Developmental Mismatch - used to further develop a student’s intellectual and ethical capacities along the Perry continuum
      • “Plus One Staging” (Kohlberg)
        • Individuals have the capacity to understand and progressively develop when challenged to reasoning slightly more advanced than their own
    • Establishing Goals, Implementing Program, Evaluating (Thoma, 1993).
viability of the model
Viability of the Model
  • Measurements of the Perry Model (Evans, Forney and Guido-DiBrito, 1998).
    • Measure of Intellectual Development (MID) (1974)- Knefelkamp and Widick
    • Measure of Epistemological Reflection (MER) (1985)- Baxter Magolda and Porterfield
    • Learning Environment Preferences Measure (LEP) (1989) – Moore
  • King and Kitchener’s (1977) construct of Reflective Judgment- investigates how people reason and arrive at a point of view- upward progression of Reflective Judgment scores found across high school, college and grad school (King, 2006).
    • Complex reasoning is not a reflection of just age or verbal aptitude but more of a consequence of college attendance (King, 2006, Chickering, 1993.)
  • Comprehensive and Inclusive
  • Generalizability across a diversity of experiences
    • Themes of Human Identity class
    • Complexity in which students view careers
  • Great Explanatory Power
    • Many people can trace their own intellectual and ethical development by studying the scheme as well as the development of friends, family and students

(King, 2006)

  • Gender biased
    • Although both Harvard and Radcliffe students participated in Perry’s longitudinal study, only the year-end interviews with men (with few exceptions) were used to validate the Perry Scheme (Evans, Forney and Guido Di- Brito, 1998).
  • Difficult to Separate Underlying Constructs
    • First half is focused on intellectual development and second half is focused on ethical, moral and identity development
      • Kohlberg (1969) and Selman (1974) garnered evidence based research claiming that moral development may follow development in other areas, however the question complicates and challenges and notions of identity construction (as cited in King, 2006).
intriguing findings
Intriguing Findings
  • Student Affairs Practitioners who are relativists and affiliate with Feeling and Perceiving attributes instead of Judging on the Myers-Briggs are more likely to take interest in the Perry Theory and use it to better understand their students as well as styling learning objectives/projects/tasks in hopes of facilitating growth along the continuum (Evans, Forney, Guido Di- Brito, 1998).
  • In comparing progressive schools vs. traditional schools in their ability to cultivate the way high school girls reason about moral and epistemological issues, senior girls scored significantly higher than sophomore girls at the progressive school, but virtually the same same at the traditional school. (Clinchy, Lief, and Young, 1977).
    • Kohlburg Moral Judgment Interview (1973) (as cited in King, 2006)
  • Students in an agricultural school scored between 2 and 5 on the continuum- no significant difference between liberal arts schools (Blake, 1976).
  • Religious knowledge does not buffer moral development or conceptual complexity, although religious issues can serve as a measure of intellectual development (Meyer, 1975) (King, 2006)
application to student affairs
Application to Student Affairs
  • Career Counseling (Knefelkamp and Slepitza, 1976)
  • Residence Halls (Stonewater, 1988)
    • Supervision of Student Affairs Res Ed Professionals (Ricci, Porterfield and Piper, 1987)
  • Counseling Women (Knefelkamp, Widick and Stroad, 1976)
  • Group Advisement (Cosgrove, 1987)
  • Group Development (Saidla, 1990)
  • Academic Advising (Hillman and Lewis, 1980)

(Evans, Forney and Guido DiBrito, 1998).

  • To what areas of Student Affairs could you apply the Perry Model?
  • What frames does the Perry Scheme relate to or help facilitate/ develop? (Chickering and Reisser, 1993)
  • One of the limitations to the Perry Scheme was the combination of both intellectual and moral development- do you all think this is overall beneficial or not?
  • How important is it for students to achieve a state of relativism or even committed relativism? If one does not reach a mature state, can they achieve an identity?
  • Grieving the “road not taken” (Perry, 2005).
embodiment of perry s theory
Embodiment of Perry’s Theory
  • “Only to the extent that someone is living out this self transcendence of human existence is he truly human or does he become his true self. He becomes so, not by concerning himself with his self's actualization, but by forgetting himself and giving himself, overlooking himself and focusing outward.”Viktor Frankl
  • Pilgrim’s Process or the idea of self discovery
    • Transcendence  9 positions, 4 frames
    • Focusing outward or reframing
  • Chickering, A., Reisser, L. (1993). Education and Identity, (Second Edition). San-Francisco, Jossey- Bass.
  • Evans, N, J., Forney, D. S., Guido-DiBrito, F.(1998). Student Development in College: Theory Research and Practice. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.
  • Hofer, B. K. and Pintrich, P. R. (1997, Spring). The development of epistemological theories: Beliefs about knowledge and knowing and their relation to learning. Review of Educational Research, 67 (1), 88-140.
  • King, Patricia. (2006). “William Perry’s Theory of Intellectual and Ethical Development.” New Directions for Student Services Vol. 1978, Issue 4, pp. 35-51.
  • Perry, William, G. (1999). Forms of Ethical and Intellectual Development in the College Years: A Scheme. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.
  • Perry, William, G. ( 2005). Different Worlds in the Same Classroom: Students’ Evolution in Their Vision of Knowledge and Their Expectations of Teachers in ASHE Reader on College Student Development Theory, eds, Wilson, M., Wolf-Wendel, L. Pearson Custom Publishing, pp. 473-481.
  • Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association. (1984). American Philosophical Association. Vol. 57, 5, pp. 610-614.
  • Perry, William, G. Jr. (2005). Sharing in the Cost of Growth in ASHE Reader on College Student Development Theory, eds, Wilson, M., Wolf-Wendel, L. Pearson Custom Publishing, pp. 483-486.
  • Rapaport, William. (1982). “Unsolvable Problems and Philosophical Progress.” American Philosophical Quarterly. Vol. 19, pp. 289-298.
  • Thoma, George, A. (1993). “The Perry Framework and Tactics for Teaching Critical Thinking in Economics.” Journal of Economic Education Spring: 128-136.