School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Melanie Hicks

Primary Subject Area

Education, General; Education, Community College; Education, Curriculum and Instruction; Education, Higher; Business Administration, Accounting


accounting, community college, Defining Issues Test, education, ethics, moral sensitivity


Accounting | Business Law, Public Responsibility, and Ethics | Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Ethics and Political Philosophy


In this retrospective causal-comparative study, the readiness of Virginia community college students to receive an accounting ethics curriculum was analyzed by measuring and comparing their moral sensitivity scores to the moral sensitivity scores of a group of four year university students. A sample of college students attending community college principles of accounting courses and a sample of college students attending four year university principles of accounting courses were administered a nationally recognized moral sensitivity survey instrument, the Defining Issues Test 2 (DIT2). The survey results were analyzed using a t-test for differences between means. It was found that there was no statistically significant difference in the mean moral sensitivity scores between the two groups. In addition, a t-test for differences between means indicated that there was no significant difference in the mean scores of the community college group compared to the DIT2 norms scores of students across the United States at the community college level students. A third t-test was performed comparing the community college group to the national norms scores of junior level college students who traditionally receive accounting ethics courses if offered in a college curriculum. A final t-test assessed the impact of gender on moral sensitivity scores. Although the mean score for females was higher than males, gender was found to have a low relationship to moral sensitivity scores. The implications of this study include a greater understanding of the moral sensitivity of community college students in comparison to four year college students who may traditionally receive ethics courses.