Last revision:
June 16, 2018 © Georg Lind

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The Experimental Design of the
Moral Competence Test (MCT)

   

The MCT has been constructed on the basis of Lind´s Dual Aspect Theory of moral competence development in order to assess objectively moral competence, that is, the structural aspect of moral behavior. This is defined as the ability to solve conflicts and problems on the basis of moral principles through thinking and discussion, instead of through violence, deceit, or submission to others.

In particular, the MCT measures participants' ability to measure their ability to rate arguments pro and contra the decision of a protagonist in a dilemma story, on the basis of their moral quality instead of their opinion agreement or other non-moral qualities.

The MCT employs a new psychometric theory, the concept of Experimental Questionnaires. This is different from classical and modern test theory as employed by Jim Rest and John Gibbs, as well as from clinical interview methods as employed by Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg. For more details on Lind´s theory, the MCT and guidelines to establish cross-cultural validity of translated versions as well as for the administration of the MCT for non-standard groups of participants, please visit this web-site: http//www.uni-konstanz.de/ag-moral/ and Lind (2016).

The MCT is designed as a 3-factorial multivariate N=1 experiment, with one of the variates being a moral task (see the literature quoted on this web-site for more details). The task embedded in the MCT is to rate arguments according to their moral quality (moral orientation) instead of other aspects. This has been found to be a rather difficult task for most people. Calculating C-scores for tests which do not contain a moral task, is meaningless.

The main index of the MCT, the C-score, reflects the participant's moral competence, that is, the degree to which he or she is able to cope with this task.

Being an "Experimental Questionnaire," the MCT has been constructed on the basis of an elaborated psychological theory (see Lind, 2016), and validated against several criteria derived from moral psychological research. These criteria are more rigorous than conventional criteria of test analysis and allow for rigorous checks on the cross-cultural validity of translated versions. Purely statistical criteria, as mostly used in psychological test construction, like "reliability," "internal consistency," and test-test-correlations or empirical "validity" are not applicable. ... more.

   

Experimental Design of the MCT

- Standard Version -

Independent Design Variables:
(1) Moral quality of the argument,
(2) Opinion agreement of the arguments, and
(3) Dilemma context of the arguments

= 6 x 2 x 2 Orthogonal Experimental Design

Dependent Design Variable:
Rating of arguments by the participant from -4 ("I strongly reject") to +4 ("I strongly accept")



  Factor 3: Dilemma context
Workers' Dilemma (Theft) Doctor's Dilemma (Mercy Killing)
    Factor 2: Opinion agreement    
Factor 1:Moral
Oriten-tation
Pro-Arguments Contra-Arguments Pro-Arguments Contra-Arguments
1
-4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4
2
-4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4
3
-4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4
4
-4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4
5
-4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4
6
-4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4

C-Score = SS (Moral Stage) / SS (total) * 100 ... more.

-> Scoring sheet.

-> Calculating the C-score (behind a code wall; please write to the author)

-> Reporting C-scores (behind a code wall; please write to the author)

-> Lind, G. (2017). From Donder's dilemma to objective internal assessment: How experimental developmental psychology can contribute to moral education ... download