WWC review of this study

The value of a developmental approach to evaluating character development programmes: An ongoing study of Facing History and Ourselves.

Schultz, H. L., Barr, D. J., & Selman, R. L. (2001). Journal of Moral Education, 30, 3–25. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ660049

  • Quasi-Experimental Design
     examining 
    346
     Students
    , grade
    8
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards with reservations

Reviewed: September 2006

Behavior outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Self-reported fighting

Facing History and Ourselves vs. business as usual

Posttest

Grade 8;
346 students

1.64

2.24

No

--
Knowledge, attitudes, & values outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Relationship maturity (best response score)

Facing History and Ourselves vs. business as usual

Posttest

Grade 8;
346 students

2.22

2.07

Yes

 
 
17
More Outcomes

Racism

Facing History and Ourselves vs. business as usual

Posttest

Grade 8;
346 students

3.29

3.17

No

 
 
11

Relationship maturity (response rating score)

Facing History and Ourselves vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Grade 8;
346 students

2.07

2.03

No

--

Civic attitudes and participation

Facing History and Ourselves vs. business as usual

Posttest

Grade 8;
346 students

2.99

2.9

No

--

Moral reasoning (D score)

Facing History and Ourselves vs. business as usual

Posttest

Grade 8;
211 students

15.6

16.1

No

--

Moral reasoning (P score)

Facing History and Ourselves vs. business as usual

Posttest

Grade 8;
211 students

23

24.2

No

--

Ethnic identity

Facing History and Ourselves vs. business as usual

Posttest

Grade 8;
346 students

3.48

3.6

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • Race
    Black
    6%
    Not specified
    23%
    White
    62%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    4%
    Not Hispanic
    96%

  • Suburban, Urban
    • B
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    Northeast

Setting

The participating classrooms were in northeastern U.S. towns with varied socioeconomic characteristics: a suburban town with middle class and wealthy families, an urban suburb with a mix of wealthy, middle class, and working class families, and two small cities with predominantly poor and working class families.

Study sample

The study included 346 eighth-grade public school students from 14 FHAO and 8 comparison classrooms in social studies and language arts. The sample was 62% white, 6% black, 3.5% Hispanic, and 23% mixed/other students, with 5.5% of the students not reporting their ethnicity

Intervention Group

Students in 14 eighth-grade classrooms taught by four teachers with experience implementing Facing History and Ourselves used the curriculum over a 10-week period. Information on the specific FHAO curriculum they used was not provided in the study report, and the authors note that the curriculum generally varies in length and content. The core components include readings from the Facing History and Ourselves resource book, guest speakers, films, and student writings around such themes as morality, justice, and caring for others.

Comparison Group

Students in eight eighth-grade classrooms taught by five teachers in public schools in the same communities as the FHAO teachers but, with one exception, not in the same schools as the FHAO teachers.

Outcome descriptions

The primary outcomes included self-reported fighting, relationship maturity, ethnic identity, civic attitudes and participation, racism, and moral reasoning. Self-reported fighting was measured with a questionnaire, but no other details were provided. Relationship maturity was measured with The Group for the Study of Interpersonal Development relationship questionnaire. The measure of ethnic identity was the Multi-group Ethnic Identity Measure. Civic attitudes and participations were assessed with scales adapted from the National Learning Through Service Survey. The Modern Racism Scale measured racism, and the Defining Issues Test, moral reasoning. (See Appendices A2.1 and A2.2.)

Support for implementation

Training was one of the selection criteria for intervention group teachers. Each teacher for the FHAO classes had attended the FHAO Institute and had taught the FHAO curriculum for at least three years before the study.

 

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