Volume 6, 2021
Philosophy as a Way of Life
Moral Transformation, Identity, and Practice
Standard ways of conceptualizing moral development and measuring pedagogical interventions in ethics classes privilege the growth of moral judgment over moral sensitivity, moral motivation, and moral habits by too often conflating improvement in moral judgment with holistic moral development. I argue here that if we care about students’ construction and cultivation of their ethical selves, our assessment design principles ought to take seriously the transformative possibilities of philosophy as a way of life and be based on a more robust and holistic account of moral development. I illustrate these principles of assessment design through an examination of the Character Project, which I created to help students engage in their own deliberate ethical transformation through self-directed, individualized, and concentrated practice. Finally, I conclude with a discussion about how to appropriately and fairly assess this kind of deeply personal learning.