Important Values for School-aged Children and Youth:
Preliminary Report

Citation: Huitt, W. (2004, October). Important values for school-aged children and youth: A preliminary report. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Retrieved [date], from http://www.edpsycinteractive.org/brilstar/valuesreport.html

 

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A survey of important values, virtues, and attributes was developed and given to practicing and preservice teachers. The 154 terms were drawn from six different sources (Georgia Department of Education (1997) Character Education Curriculum, Vesselís (1998) Character Education Curriculum, Maxwell International School's (2001) Copper to Gold Moral Character Development program, Peterson and Seligmanís (2004) Signature Strengths, Kavelin-Popov, Popov, and Kavelinís (1997) Virtues Project, and Huittís (2004) Becoming A Brilliant Star framework).

 

Teachers were from a private school (N = 32), public schools in South GA (N = 85), elementary preservice teachers (N = 24), and middle/upper preservice teachers (N = 58)

 

Participants rated each term from 1 (Not important) to 5 (Critically important). Means for each term were computed and the terms were rank ordered based on the computed means.

 

Source

Private School Educ

Public School Educ

Preservice Elementary

Public School Educ

0.87

 

 

Preservice Elem

0.71

0.81

 

Preservice MG/HS

0.81

0.94

0.89

 

Based upon this pilot study, the survey was slightly modified and a second study completed. The revised survey included 158 items drawn from the same sources (several low-scoring items were dropped and additional terms were placed in the survey). Teachers from public schools in South GA (N = 69), elementary preservice teachers (N = 92), middle/high school preservice teachers (N = 123), and parents from public schools in South GA (N = 163) completed the survey. The correlations from this second study are shown below.

 

Source

Educators

Preservice

Elementary

Preservice

Middle/HS

Pre Elem

0.87

 

 

Pre Mid/HS

0.86

0.87

 

Parents

0.78

0.86

0.77

 

The following 30 terms were ranked in the top 10 by at least one of the groups:

 

Number of Groups Selecting as One of Top 10

Value, Virtue, Attribute

4

         Drug-free

         Honest

         Respectful

         Respect rights of others

         Truthful

3

         Respect self

         Respect, accept authority

         Responsible

         Rule-following

2

         Ability to work in teams

         Accountable

         Attentive

         Cooperative

         Hard-working

         Law-abiding

         Prompt & punctual

         Respect for the Creator

         Self-disciplined

         Trustworthy

1

         Ability see anotherís perspective

         Dependable

         Freedom from prejudice

         Honorable

         Obedient

         Positive, encouraging attitude

         Prepared

         Respect for own rights

         Respect for physical health

         Self-controlled

         Teachable

 

Shown below are the means and rankings for these terms for each group and the average.

 

 

Educators

Pre Elem

Pre MG/HS

Parents

Average

Mean

Rank

Mean

Rank

Mean

Rank

Mean

Rank

Mean

Rank

Drug-free

4.7

1

4.8

1

4.4

1

4.7

4

4.7

1.8

Respect rights of others

4.4

2

4.7

2

4.2

6

4.7

4

4.5

3.5

Respectful

4.4

2

4.4

9

4.4

1

4.7

4

4.5

4.0

Honest

4.4

2

4.5

6

4.1

9

4.7

4

4.4

5.3

Truthful

4.3

6

4.4

9

4.1

9

4.8

1

4.4

6.3

Rule-following

4.1

16

4.4

9

4.3

3

4.8

1

4.4

7.3

Respect self

4.2

12

4.4

9

4.1

9

4.7

4

4.4

8.5

Respect, accept authority

4.3

6

4.4

9

4.3

3

4.5

19

4.4

9.3

Trustworthy

4.2

12

4.5

6

4.0

18

4.8

1

4.4

9.3

Responsible

4.3

6

4.5

6

4.3

3

4.4

27

4.4

10.5

Accountable

4.4

2

4.3

21

4.1

9

4.6

11

4.4

10.8

Hard-working

4.1

16

4.4

9

4.1

9

4.6

11

4.3

11.3

Law-abiding

4.3

6

4.4

9

4.0

18

4.5

19

4.3

13.0

Self-controlled

4.1

16

4.3

21

4.2

6

4.6

11

4.3

13.5

Self-disciplined

4.0

29

4.4

9

4.1

9

4.6

11

4.3

14.5

Attentive

4.3

6

4.4

9

3.9

25

4.5

19

4.3

14.8

Ability to work in teams

4.3

6

4.3

21

4.2

6

4.4

27

4.3

15.0

Cooperative

4.1

16

4.4

9

4.1

9

4.4

27

4.3

15.3

Prepared

4.1

16

4.4

9

3.8

28

4.6

11

4.2

16.0

Prompt and punctual

4.0

29

4.6

4

4.0

18

4.5

19

4.3

17.5

Honorable

4.1

16

4.2

30

3.8

28

4.7

4

4.2

19.5

Teachable

4.1

16

4.3

21

4.0

18

4.4

27

4.2

20.5

Respect for the Creator

4.1

16

4.7

2

3.5

64

4.7

4

4.3

21.5

Freedom from prejudice

4.1

16

4.3

21

4.1

9

4.3

46

4.2

23.0

Positive, encouraging attitude

3.8

48

4.4

9

3.9

25

4.6

11

4.2

23.3

Respect for own rights

3.9

36

4.1

39

4.0

18

4.6

11

4.2

26.0

Dependable

4.2

12

4.2

30

3.7

40

4.4

27

4.1

27.3

Obedient

3.8

48

4.4

9

3.6

52

4.6

11

4.1

30.0

Respect for physical health

3.7

64

4.6

4

3.6

52

4.6

11

4.1

32.8

Ability see anotherís perspective

4.2

12

4.1

39

4.1

9

4.0

106

4.1

41.5

Average

4.2

16.4

4.4

13.0

4.0

17.1

4.6

16.4

4.3

15.7

Std Dev

0.2

15.3

0.2

10.4

0.2

16.2

0.2

20.0

0.1

9.4

 

 

Combining similar terms, the most important values, virtues and attributes seem to be

 

  • Drug-free: Preservice and inservice teachers ranked this number 1; parents ranked it number 4.
  • Respectful, Respect rights of others, Respect-self, Respect and accept authority: These terms were consistently ranked in the top 10 for all groups; only parents ranked respect and accept authority outside that range (#19) and only educators ranked respect for self outside that range (#12).
  • Honest, Truthful, Trustworthy: These terms were consistently ranked in the top 10 for all groups. The only exceptions were educators for trustworthy (#12) and preservice middle grades and high school educators (#18). However, trustworthy was ranked #1 by parents.
  • Rule-following: Ranked in the top 10 by 3 of the 4 groups; the exception was inservice educators (#16).
  • Responsible: Ranked in the top 10 by 3 of the 4 groups; the exception was parents (#27).

 

It should also be noted that parents consistently rated terms higher than did preservice and inservice educators. The only term rated lower by parents that the three groups of educators was ďAbility to see anotherís perspectiveĒ.

 

Based on the results of the two surveys, a shortened survey was developed with 64 terms.

 

The following is a classification of the 64 identified values, virtues, and attributes using the domains and core elements of the Brilliant Star framework.

 

Brilliant Star Domain

Value, Virtue, Attribute

General

Competent

 

Prepared

 

Productive

 

Strives for excellence

 

 

Character

Honest

 

Honorable

 

Integrity

 

Moral

 

Trustworthy

 

Truthful

 

 

Personal Style

High self-esteem

 

Respect for self & own rights

 

 

Spiritual

Respect for Creator

 

Searches for meaning

 

 

Physical

Drug-free

 

Respect for physical health

 

 

Cognitive

Attentive

 

Disciplined mind

 

Independent

 

Knowledgeable

 

Open-minded

 

Teachable

 

 

Affective

Caring

 

Compassionate

 

Confident

 

Empathetic

 

Love of learning

 

Optimistic

 

Patient

 

Positive, encouraging attitude

 

Thankful

 

 

Conative/Volitional

Accountable

 

Committed

 

Courageous

 

Dedicated

 

Dependable & reliable

 

Determined

 

Hard-working

 

Persevering

 

Responsible

 

Self-controlled

 

Self-disciplined

 

 

Family/Friends

Ability to see anotherís perspective

 

Cooperative

 

Considerate

 

Courteous

 

Faithful

 

Family valuing

 

Helpful

 

Loyal

 

Respectful

 

Respect rights of others

 

Respectful

 

 

School/Career/Work

Ability to work in teams

 

Obedient

 

Prompt & punctual

 

Respect & accept authority

 

Rule-following

 

 

Social/Cultural

Freedom from prejudice

 

Fair

 

Good-citizenship

 

Law-abiding

 

Respect for natural environment

 

References

 


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