Friday, June 14, 2013

Moral vs. Performance Character Development in Urban Adolescents

This study compared the effects of emphasizing moral character development or performance character development at three high-performing, high-poverty urban middle schools.

Performance character consists of the qualities that allow individuals to regulate their thoughts and actions in ways that support achievement in a particular endeavor. Moral character consists of the qualities relevant to striving for ethical behavior in one’s relationships with other individuals and communities.

Using a quasi-experimental research design, the authors found that early adolescents attending a school emphasizing moral character development through ethical philosophy programming demonstrated significantly higher levels of integrity over the course of the 2010 to 2011 academic year than their peers at two matched comparison schools (N = 544). However, the early adolescents attending the comparison schools—which emphasized performance character development through advisory programming—demonstrated significantly higher levels of perseverance and community connectedness over the course of the academic year.

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