The Measurement of Attitude

Measurement in Religious Education

E. J. Chave

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In the processes of religious education one of the most significant factors to be considered is the development or modification of attitudes. The goals of modern religious education do not simply involve the attainment of certain bodies of knowledge, such as the Bible, creeds, and doctrinal statements, history of religions, and other records of religious experience but are more closely related to the actual behavior of persons in society. To measure the amount of knowledge that any pupil may have received is fairly easy. The techniques for this kind of measurement are well established and it only requires a careful selection of materials to construct satisfactory tests. The more important concern of religious educators today is to measure how far habits of conduct that are in accordance with modern religious ideas have been established and how far attitudes and values that express the religious tendencies considered to be directed toward the realization of the highest good for the individuals themselves and for the society of which they are members have been developed in individuals and in groups of persons. These attitudes involve tendencies toward the institutions of religion—its symbols, its literature, its expressed doctrines, its concepts, ideals, programs, and other phases of religious living. The attitudes taken by persons indicate the values discovered in their personal and social religious experience.

Religious educators have been for many years changing and rechanging their methods and materials in their desire to promote satisfactory religious habits, attitudes, and values in children, youth, and adults. But as in the field of general education, this revision has been largely dependent upon guesswork and hopeful estimates as to what the results have been and might be. If the results could be measured more accurately the processes of religious

( ix) education could be more intelligently directed and the desired effects upon character would be more effectively produced. Even the rough measuring tools that have so far been developed have aided in the evaluation of methods. Real progress must wait on the development of more accurate and refined objective measuring instruments.

Religious education is also interested in all social attitudes. In so far as a person has an attitude that is in the direction of the life-goals approved by religious standards, religious education seeks to develop and motivate such with religious faith, purpose, and passion. In so far as the expression of any social attitude may reveal a life set in a direction not approved by religious standards, religious education seeks to change the tendency and redirect the life toward the more ideal religious goal. Thus the measurement of attitudes is a distinct field of interest for religious educators. This study and experiment recorded herein have been undertaken with the recognition of urgent necessity for better tools for obtaining more accurate data regarding the existing and changing attitudes in the individuals and groups with which religious education works.



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