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The Effects Of Classroom And Counseling Intervention On The Moral Development Of Junior High School Students

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This study investigated the relationship between various forms of intervention and gender on the moral development of junior high school students. The three types of intervention identified and studied were: (a) a classroom values education program, (b) crisis counseling, and (c) a combination classroom-counseling intervention. The cognitive-developmental approach of Lawrence Kohlberg served as the theoretical base for this study. In order to determine the effects of the two variables on the moral reasoning of children, 195 junior high school students were divided into three treatment groups and one control group. Students were pretested using the Defining Issues Test (DIT). Treatment lasted for ten weeks, at which time the students were administered the DIT as a posttest. Students ranged in age from 12 to 14. The difference between student pretest and posttest means on the DIT were analyzed. The .05 level of rejection was set for all statistical tests. Two analyses of covariance (ANCOVA) were used to analyze: (a) differences in the rate of moral growth among students participating in the various forms of intervention, and (b) differences in the rate of moral growth between male and female students participating in this study. No statistical difference at the .05 level was obtained between the pretest and posttest means for students exposed to the different treatments. This can be attributed to: (a) the short duration of the treatment, (b) the validity of the DIT with this particular sample of students, and (c) the ineffectiveness of the counseling intervention. A significant difference at the .02 level was obtained for gender with female students showing more gains than male students in the three treatment groups and control group. Earlier maturation at this particular age, rather than the intervention factor, is a possible explanation for the consistent gains shown among female subjects over male subjects. Suggestions for future research included: (a) increasing the length of the study and the age range of the subjects, (b) testing the usefulness of the DIT with younger subjects, (c) testing the validity of the DIT for use with subjects with bilingual/bicultural backgrounds, and (d) conducting more studies on the feasibility of cognitive-developmental approaches in clinical settings.

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