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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Department of Graduate Psychology

Abstract

Employers, policymakers, parents and other stakeholders value ethical reasoning (ER) skills. Thus, to help students actively engage in the ER process, stakeholders at James Madison University (JMU) redefined ER, implemented campus-wide ER interventions, and created the Ethical Reasoning Identification Test (ERIT-1) to measure students’ ability to engage in a lower-level step of the ER process. The current study examined the factor structure and reliability of the ERIT-1. Confirmatory Factor Analysis results provided support for a unidimensional factor structure, meaning stakeholders can report and analyze total scores for the ERIT-1. ERIT-1 scores also demonstrated good reliability. Correlation analyses provided initial external validity evidence for ERIT-1 scores, indicating that the ERIT-1 and the SAT verbal reasoning test measure substantively different constructs. In addition, the ERIT-1 was sensitive to slight differences in ER training. Specifically, students experiencing a 75-minute ER intervention tended to perform better on ERIT-1 items compared to students that experienced no ER intervention. Overall, the ERIT-1 demonstrated great potential for assessing ER student learning outcomes. Future research should continue building upon this base of validity evidence. For instance, researchers should collect additional known groups validity evidence from students who received stronger doses of ER interventions.

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