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Defining Issues Test
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Assessment/ grading material

The Defining Issues Test defines three frameworks for moral reasoning: a personal interests (PI) framework; a maintaining norms (MN) framework; or a post-conventional (P) framework that is based upon moral ideals or principles. The phrases “high DIT scores” and “low DIT scores” refer to scores indicating the proportion of times an individual indicates a preference for post-conventional moral arguments (called the P score). DIT scores indicate which framework predominates for the individual, whether the person is consolidated on a particular moral framework, or the extent to which an individual has difficulty distinguishing among arguments that represent each framework.
Extensive validation of the DIT includes studies showing links between high DIT scores and actual behavior such as:
clinical performance in nursing, medicine, and dentistry: M.J. Bebeau, The Defining Issues Test and the Four Component Model: Contributions of Professional Education, Journal of Moral Education, 2002, 31(3), 279-81
likelihood of fraud detection by auditors: L.A. Ponemon and D.R.L. Gabhart, Ethical Reasoning Research in the Accounting and Auditing Professions, in Rest & Narvaez, Moral Development in the Professions, pp. 101-18;
willingness to inform superiors or law enforcement of wrong-doing, D. Arnold, D., & L.A. Ponemon, Internal Auditors' Perceptions of Whistle-Blowing and the Influence of Moral Reasoning: An Experiment, Auditing: A Journal of Practice and Theory, 1991, 10, 1-15; R.A. Bernardi, Suggestions for Providing Legitimacy for Accounting Ethics Research, Issues in Accounting Education, 2004, 19(1), 45-146.
Low DIT scores have been shown to correlate with disciplinary action in dentistry, and both disciplinary action and malpractice claims in medicine:
M.J. Bebeau, Enhancing Professionalism Using Ethics Education as Part of a Dental Licensure Board’s Disciplinary Action. Part I: An Evidence-Based Process, Journal of the American College of Dentists, 2009, 76(2), 38-50
D.C. Baldwin, Jr., T.E. Adamson, Sheehan, D.J. Self, and A.A. Oppenberg, Moral Reasoning and Malpractice: A Pilot Study of Orthopedic Surgeons, American Journal of Orthopedics, 1996, 25(7), 481-84.

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