Date of Award

Summer 2013

Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Factors & Systems


Human Factors and Systems

Committee Chair

Shawn Doherty, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Kelly Neville, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Alan Pratt, Ph.D.


The Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) is an accessions program designed to produce quality commissioned Officers for operational units, in support of strategic Department of Defense (DoD) objectives. The traditional program length of 4 years coincides with the average number of years required to obtain a baccalaureates degree in the United States, in part because a degree is required for program completion. The program goals are to develop candidates physically, mentally, and morally in order to ensure they can be entrusted with the highest levels of leadership required of a US citizen.

This study aimed at assessing the moral development aspect of sophomore Naval ROTC students, specifically with regards to the efficacy of ROTC training. Navy ROTC, Air Force ROTC, and traditional (i.e., no military affiliation) sophomore students were asked to complete the online version of James Rest's Defining Issues Test (DIT) version 2. Students were asked to complete 3 iterations: a pretest at the start of the Fall 2012 semester, a mid-test at the start of the Spring 2013 semester, and a post-test at the end of the Spring 2013 semester.

On the basis of high attrition levels of participants among traditional student participants, that group was excluded from the final analysis. Both as compared to themselves over the three iterations, as well as compared to Air Force ROTC students across iterations 1 and 3, Navy ROTC students showed no statistically significant difference in the indices of moral interest (i.e., P score and N2 score). The results suggest that Navy ROTC training at the Sophomore level does not significantly increase moral development as measured by the DIT-2. Additionally, Navy ROTC training does not appear to have any greater efficacy in moral development than Air Force ROTC training, despite service-specific differences in training approaches.