Developing and testing a scale of moral thinking and communication (MTC) functioning: a preliminary study and its implications for moral development and education

Chi Ming Angela Lee, Stephen J. Thoma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The purpose of this study was to develop and test a scale assessing students’ moral thinking and communication (MTC) functioning as well as to explore the implications for moral development and education. The rationale of MTC functioning, including interaction of four independent competencies: moral awareness, moral judgement, moral discourse, and moral decision-making, is primarily adapted from L. Kohlberg’s theory, Neo-Kohlbergian theory, J. Habermas’s and K.-O. Apel’s discourse ethics, and L. Hinman’s ethical pluralism. There were two studies in the development of the measure. The resulting instrument contained four moral dilemmas differing by a focus on micro-moral and macro-moral levels. Findings from the studies indicated the MTC scale has acceptable psychometric properties and describe Taiwanese students as attending to the difficult problems of integrating local and international cultural norms. Additionally, the measure provides a detailed picture of students’ moral thinking and communication functioning. These results are discussed in terms of implications for moral theory and assessment of moral education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-50
Number of pages19
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 2



  • Moral thinking and communication functioning
  • Taiwanese students
  • scale development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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