Differences in social and moral hierarchical values among Colombian and American preservice teacher education students and professors

Luz Marina Escobar-Ortloff


Literature in Colombia and the United States regularly addresses symptoms of the decline of morals, values, and ethical behavior within each country's respective societies. This decline has contributed to an increase in interpersonal violence and other concerns which have, in some cases, been correlated with decreased student academic achievement. Schools have traditionally assumed the role of promoting societies, values and, therefore, have assumed much of the blame. The university, which educates future teachers who will in turn educate and influence a nation's future, its children, has not been immune to this crisis. The purpose of this study was to determine if differences in values systems existed between and among both preservice education students and professors in a teacher education university in both the Republic of Colombia and the United States of America. The subjects of this study were 324 students and professors from Universidad Pedagogica Nacional (Santafe de Bogota, Colombia) and The University of Southern Mississippi (Hattiesburg, Mississippi). The Mann-Whitney U test was used to test all hypotheses. The instrument used in this study consisted of demographic information and the Rokeach Value Survey. All eight hypotheses predicting significant group hierarchical instrumental and terminal value differences among the populations were partially rejected. Most values were not statistically significantly different when comparing the student and professor populations in the Republic of Colombia and the United States; however, when the international comparisons were made, a great deal more differences became evident. Cultural differences, basic human needs, level of education, gender, and age were variables having the strongest correlational results.