The engineering and science issues test (esit): A discipline-specific approach to assessing moral judgment

To assess ethics pedagogy in science and engineering, we developed a new tool called the Engineering and Science Issues Test (ESIT). ESIT measures moral judgment in a manner similar to the Defining Issues Test, second edition, but is built around technical dilemmas in science and engineering. We used a quasi-experimental approach with pre- and post-tests, and we compared the results to those of a control group with no overt ethics instruction. Our findings are that several (but not all) stand-alone classes showed a significant improvement compared to the control group when the metric includes multiple stages of moral development. We also found that the written test had a higher response rate and sensitivity to pedagogy than the electronic version. We do not find significant differences on pre-test scores with respect to age, education level, gender or political leanings, but we do on whether subjects were native English speakers. We did not find significant differences on pre-test scores based on whether subjects had previous ethics instruction; this could suggest a lack of a long-term effect from the instruction.
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