Evaluating character education programs and missing the target: A critique of existing research
Christopher A. Wasa, , Dan J. Woltzb and Clif Drewb
aKent State University, Educational Foundations and Special Services, 405 White Hall, Kent, OH 44242, United States
bUniversity of Utah,United States
Received 20 January 2006; revised 14 August 2006; accepted 16 August 2006. Available online 6 October 2006.
The need for character education is apparent in the statistics regarding school violence, absenteeism, drop out rates, and achievement. The directive has been sent out by the government to get the job done. This manuscript examines a number of studies that claim to provide evidence that character education programs work, and others that provide evidence that is less supportive. These mixed conclusions are particularly difficult to synthesize because of conceptual and methodological weaknesses common in this area of research. In this review, rather than make a claim as to the effectiveness of character education programs, we point out that the research regarding character education has not examined evaluation questions with an empirically rigorous eye. We draw particular attention to the lack of behavioral outcomes reported in the existing research.