Students' Perception of the Moral Atmosphere in Secondary School and the Relationship Between Moral Competence and Moral Atmosphere

Journal of Moral Education 27 (1):47-70 (1998)
Abstract
Abstract This study of students? perceptions of the moral atmosphere in secondary schools was mainly inspired by the Just Community theory of Power, Higgins and Kohlberg (1989). The concepts they used in their intervention studies of schools developing into a Just Community were operationalised through a paper?and?pencil instrument for the measurement of students? perception of the moral atmosphere in school. To assess the reliability, validity and the power of the instrument a study was carried out in which 1553 students from 32 Dutch secondary schools participated. The schools were selected from among four types of schools varying in educational level: (1) junior vocational secondary education, (2) intermediate secondary education, (3) university preparatory and higher secondary education and (4) schools that were a mixture of intermediate secondary education, and university preparatory and higher secondary education. Analysis of variance revealed significant differences between schools and school types. Analyses of covariance with students? moral competence (assessed with the SROM?sf) as a covariate and moral atmosphere as dependent variable, showed that the effect of school, for all the schools taken together and for each school type, remained significant. The practical significance of these results is addressed
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