The purpose of this study is to explore the association between teachers' moral judgment development and perceived self-efficacy, and their relationship to change in student achievement. Studies in professional ethics have shown a positive link between levels of moral judgment development and dimensions of professional behavior. However, little research exists concerning the professional behavior of K-12 school teachers. The theoretical framework for the study derives from the bodies of research on moral judgment development (Kohlberg, 1976; Rest, 1979; Rest, Narvaez, Bebeau, & Thoma, 1999a, 1999b) and perceived self-efficacy (Bandura, 1997; Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001), in which both are dimensions of Rest's four component model of morality (FCM). In Rest's model, there are four psychological processes that interact with each other in order for a moral action (behavior) to occur. Moral judgment -the decision, action, or choice associated with right and wrong - is the second of the four processes. A fourth process, referred to as moral character or moral implementation, includes the personal qualities (i.e., self-efficacy) and competencies required when carrying out a moral action. Bandura's work on perceived self-efficacy, which centers on individuals' beliefs or judgments about their capabilities in the classroom, is particularly relevant for K-12 school teachers. Research on teachers' perceived self-efficacy has shown a positive association between teachers' self-efficacy beliefs and student achievement outcomes. Participants in this study included 71 active elementary classroom and secondary mathematics teachers from an urban school district. An ANOVA and correlational analyses showed a positive significant association between maintaining norms moral schema as assessed by the Defining Issues Test 2 (DIT2) and the Teacher Sense of Efficacy Scale - short form (TSES). The results also showed a positive significant association between maintaining norms moral schema and TSES' classroom management subscale. As well, an ANOVA and correlational analyses showed a negative significant association between DIT2 postconventional moral schema and the TSES total score, and a negative significant association between postconventional moral schema and TSES' classroom management subscale. Three progressive HLM models were tested to determine the amount of variance accounted for by teachers' moral reasoning and self-efficacy beliefs at the student and classroom levels. Maintaining norms was determined to be significant in predicting students' NCE gain scores on the state's Augmented Benchmark Math Exam. For teachers who were identified as predominately using maintaining norms arguments, their students on averaged scored 3.56 points higher than those students whose teachers were identified as personal interest or postconventional. These findings could imply that teachers who are in maintaining norms may be more apt to comply with rigid school and classroom rules and norms, and thereby experience fewer interruptions during instruction, which could ultimately result in higher achievement gains.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. September 2014. Major: Educational Psychology. Advisors: Dr. Geoffrey Maruyama, Dr. Muriel Bebeau. 1 computer file (PDF); x, 82 pages, appendices A-D.
Chears-Young, Julia Beatrice.
The association between math teachers' moral judgment development and self-efficacy beliefs, and their relationship with student achievement.
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