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Diversity in the Classroom and Students’ Moral Reasoning Sylvia Hurtado Matthew J. Mayhew Mark E. Engberg University of Michigan
Introduction • “Institutions should foster intellectual honesty, responsibility for society’s moral health and for social justices, active participation as a citizen of a diverse democracy, discernment of the ethical consequences of decisions and action, and a deep understanding of one’s self and respect for the complex identities of others, their histories and their cultures” (p. xii). • The Association of American Colleges and Universities (2002)
Theoretical Overview • Moral reasoning development • What? Postconventional reasoning • When? One-term change? • Where? In context (psychologist’s fallacy) • How? Cognitive disequilibrium • Diversity theory • Cognitive disequilibrium via active learning, interaction with diverse peers
Key Features • Assess impact of participation in a diversity course using a standard measure of moral reasoning (DIT2); • Beyond the standard pre- and post assessments, account for the type of pedagogy and learning that students report; • Model students’ selection of these courses as a way to emphasize that students’ comfort levels and predispositions can be accentuated or challenged during college
Sample • 236 cases (151 diversity and 85 management) • 71% female • 22% students of color • 65% underclassmen • 80% primarily White neighborhoods • By course. . . • Diversity course = 87% female, 23% students of color • Management course = 42% female, 19% students of color
Survey and Missing Data • Surveys • Student Thinking and Interaction Survey (STIS) • Time 1 and Time 2 • Defining Issues Test 2 • Time 1 and Time 2 • California Critical Thinking Dispositions Index (CCTDI) • Time 2 • Missing Data • EM Algorithm-Estimates missing values from population
Variables • Pre-course demographic controls • Race • Gender • Previous diversity-related course learning • Course-related variables • Time 1 moral reasoning • Participation in diversity course • Active learning factor (6 item – alpha = .77) • Disposition toward critical thinking • Outcome: Time 2 moral reasoning
Disposition to Critical Thinking Race (Minority) NS -.15* .18** Moral Reasoning Time 1 Course (Diversity) Active Learning Environment .39*** Gender (Female) NS .15* .21*** NS .19** .11* Previous Diversity Courses .57*** Moral Reasoning Time 2 Results * p<.05,**p<.01,***p<.001
Direct Effects DIT2- Time 1*** CCTDI*** Course (diversity)* Indirect effects Previous Diversity Course** Race* Active learning* Summary of Significant Direct and Indirect Effects on Moral Reasoning Time 2 *p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001
Implications • Moral reasoning skills should be “standard equipment” of college graduates; diversity courses affect moral reasoning • Importance of accounting for pedagogy as well as course-taking behavior in classroom-based studies • Change over one term has important assessment implications for faculty interested in measuring student development
For More Information • Diverse Democracy Project University of Michigan 610 E. University, 514 SEB Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1259 • Phone: 734.647.7439 • E-mail: email@example.com • Website: http://www.umich.edu/~divdemo/