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Moral Reasoning in Secondary Education Curriculum: An Operational Definition


The increasing focus to go beyond assessing cognitive constructs around the globe and in Singapore (Ng in, 2017) such as cultural awareness, grit and moral reasoning and the call for schools to prepare students for citizenship the development of corresponding instruments applicable in a larger scale. Given the significance of moral reasoning and its assessment are key elements within the current Singapore Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) curriculum (Singapore Ministry of Education in, 2012), there is room to explore how moral reasoning can be assessed practically in a large-scale setting. Undergirding this exploration requires a review of the epistemology of moral reasoning, corresponding theoretical frameworks, and how they might apply to moral education in Singapore schools. By reviewing perspectives of moral reasoning from relevant literature beyond educational research to business, medical and philosophical domains, this paper aims to propose an operational definition of moral reasoning suitable for use in Singapore schools, and to mitigate possible issues brought about by educators’ disparate or assumed understanding of moral reasoning. This can consequently support the enactment of the CCE curriculum and be applied to the development of assessment instruments suitable for use within Singapore schools and similar contexts.

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The manuscript was prepared and written by Lyndon Lim. Elaine Chapman perused and edited the manuscript. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Lyndon Lim.

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Lim, L., Chapman, E. Moral Reasoning in Secondary Education Curriculum: An Operational Definition. International Journal of Ethics Education 7, 131–146 (2022).

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  • Moral education
  • Moral reasoning
  • General education
  • Ethics