The relationship between level of ego development and educators' philosophies of education

Cynthia Mia Howard-Zaino, Pace University


In the last sixty years reportedly there has been an increase in the number of subjective scientists who acknowledge that truth and reality are structured by people and their filtering processes (Bois, 1970). This study has explored one such filter, ego development, and its relationship to an individual's primary philosophy about education. The intention was to encourage self-study by those constructing educational policy. The hypotheses were that individuals with higher levels of ego development would tend to endorse progressive attitudes toward education. Those individuals at a (lower) conformist level of ego development would be expected to have a preponderance of high scores on the traditional dimension. Preconformist subjects, whose ego level scores are lower than conformists', are considered developmentally delayed and unlikely to have conventional beliefs because of regression of deficits. Hence, they were expected to endorse more progressive positions. Sixty-six educators involved at different levels of training and responsibility were surveyed. The Loevinger (1976, 1970) sentence completion test was used to measure level of ego development. The Kerlinger Education Scale (Kerlinger and Kaya, 1959) was used to measure philosophies of education. Subjects exhibited both relatively high progressive (P) and traditional (T) scores. Yet Progressive minus Traditional scores (P $-$ T), which suggest the level of consistency a subject has in distinguishing one educational perspective over another, identified the majority of the sample as having a tendency toward progressivism. Trend analyses across four groupings of ego levels yielded a significant quadratic trend for P $-$ T scores, (F (1,62) = 4.15, p $<$.05). This indicates that subjects at the extreme ends of ego development were found more likely to endorse progressive beliefs with consistency. Contrast analyses involving orthogonal polynomials for proportions within ego clusters for each of the four P $-$ T groups were performed. For subjects who perceived themselves as moderately more progressive, a significant quadratic trend was found, (z = 1.96, $p<.05),$ as indicated by lower proportions of pre- and post-conformist and higher proportions of conformist and self aware. Implications for school psychology are discussed in light of these findings.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Educational theory|Social psychology

Recommended Citation

Howard-Zaino, Cynthia Mia, "The relationship between level of ego development and educators' philosophies of education" (1992). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI9239387.



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