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Statistical Analysis and Report on Scale Validation Results for the Engineering Ethical Reasoning Instrument (EERI)

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Engineering Ethics Division Technical Session - Assessment

Tagged Division

Engineering Ethics

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Paper Authors


Peter Wesley Odom Purdue University - Department of Engineering Education

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Wesley is a PhD student in Engineering Education at Purdue University. His primary research interests surround assessment technologies, the psychology of student learning of STEM subjects, ethics, and international community development.

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Carla B. Zoltowski Purdue University-Main Campus, West Lafayette (College of Engineering)

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Carla B. Zoltowski is an assistant professor of engineering practice in the Schools of Electrical and Computer Engineering and (by courtesy) Engineering Education and Director of the Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Program at Purdue University. She holds a B.S.E.E., M.S.E.E., and Ph.D. in Engineering Education, all from Purdue. Prior to this she was Co-Director of the EPICS Program at Purdue where she was responsible for developing curriculum and assessment tools and overseeing the research efforts within EPICS. Her research interests include the professional formation of engineers, diversity, inclusion, and equity in engineering, human-centered design, engineering ethics, and leadership.

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As evidenced by the ABET criteria and numerous publications, the growing need to foster ethical awareness in engineering students is pronounced. Despite this, the ability to definitively show accreditation boards, such as ABET, that good work is being done is scarcely achievable due to the subjective nature of ethical judgements. In an effort to standardize at least some means by which ethical reasoning can be measured in engineering students, a team at Purdue developed the Engineering Ethical Reasoning Instrument (EERI). This instrument was based on a second iteration of the Kohlbergian Defining Issues Test (DIT2). The EERI was designed to be an adaptation of the DIT2, but with scenarios contextually relevant to engineering. Ideally, the EERI is intended to measure the degree to which participants reason “post-conventionally,” described in neo-Kohlbergian theory as that which is intended to benefit society as a whole, regardless of normative expectations (conventional) or self-consideration (pre-conventional). Since the EERI was developed and first presented at ASEE in 2013, there have been ten additional papers presented at ASEE conferences which have either been directly about the EERI or have used the EERI as an instrument in their methodology. Now, after several years of being administered at Purdue and other institutions, there are 2000+ total responses. This paper delineates the first formal analysis of the aggregated descriptive statistics from strategic samples of the total population of participants. Of particular interest in this first set of results are the effects of factors such as age and major. A comparison of students in design-oriented majors and non-design-oriented majors is also conducted. Lastly, the preliminary results from scale validation analysis of the EERI are presented and discussed.

Odom, P. W., & Zoltowski, C. B. (2019, June), Statistical Analysis and Report on Scale Validation Results for the Engineering Ethical Reasoning Instrument (EERI) Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33283

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