WWC review of this study

A study of Lessons in Character: The effect of moral development curriculum upon moral judgment.

DeVargas, R. C. (1998). Dissertation Abstracts International, 59 (11-A), 4042. (UMI No. 9913706).

  • Quasi-Experimental Design
    , grade

Reviewed: September 2006

No statistically significant positive
Meets WWC standards with reservations
Knowledge, attitudes, & values outcomes—Indeterminate effect found for the domain
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Moral development

Lessons in Character vs. unknown


Grade 5;
61 students





Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

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The study was conducted in Fort Worth Independent School District in Fort Worth, Texas.

Study sample

Fifth-grade students selected from nine intervention and six comparison schools, with 21 classrooms and 31 students from the intervention schools and 17 classrooms and 30 students from the comparison schools. No information was reported on the sample’s racial/ethnic composition or socioeconomic characteristics.

Intervention Group

Teachers provided the instruction with the help of the school counselor, who acted as a trainer/facilitator. In some cases the counselor alone instructed the various classes in his/her school on a rotational basis. No information is reported about the fidelity of the implementation other than the author’s assumption that the implementation of the Lessons In Character curriculum was similar across classrooms and across schools.

Comparison Group

The comparison schools were selected from the same geographic area as the intervention schools. Detailed information on the comparison condition was not provided.

Outcome descriptions

The only outcome investigated in this study was moral judgment, as measured by the Sociomoral Reflection Measure—Short Form. (See Appendices A2.1, A2.2, and A2.3.)

Support for implementation

School counselors acted as trainers or facilitators to the teachers during the implementation period.


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