Last revision:
March 23, 2021
© Georg Lind

Scoring and Validating
the Moral Competence Test

Calculating the C-scorer With the Computer

Checking for Errors

Interpreting the C-score

Scoring Moral Orientations


Rules for using the MCT:

  • The MCT must not be used for judging and selecting individual people.
  • The MCT should always be used anonymously.

Consult these sources for more details:


Calculating the C-Score (Moral Competence)

Statistica 5.1 script for scoring the MCT, together with the standard order of the arguments of the standard MCT: English / deutsch.

SPSS script for scoring the MCT.

Calculating the C-score by hand.

When other statistical program are used, the script must be adapted.


Checking for Errors

The calculation of the C-score must be thoroughly checked for errors. To check the correctness of your analyses, these checks have proven to be helpful:

  • The C-score must be neither negative nor larger than 100.

  • Normally the mean C-score ranges somewhere between 0 and 40. Higher C-scores are possible but unusual.

  • Check the correctness of your scoring-script using the following data examples: C = 0.0 | C = 7.9 | C = 15.9 | C = 100.0

Four criteria for validity Checks:

  1. The preferences for the six moral orientation should form a hierarchy, monotonously increasing from stage 1 to 6 with slight inversions of order between stages 1 and 2 as well as between stages 5 and 6 being acceptable). preference
  2. The intercorrelations of the six moral orientations should form a simplex. simplex
  3. The C-score should systematically correlate with the preferences for the six moral orientations as explained in the parallelism hypothesis. parallel
  4. In contrast to moral orientations or preferences, moral competence cannot be simulated upward (this check is not mandatory). simulation


If your data deviate from any of these criteria, you should be warned and thoroughly search for possible causes of these deviations.

These are some of the major sources of error I have seen:

  • Mistakes in the process of transferring the raw data from the questionnaires into the computer (Were the data sorted by hand? Did the assistant confuse stages with item numbers? Were some questions left out or keyed in twice? etc.).

  • Mistakes in the computer program which scores the data: Are some variables confused? Are some variables left out or misplaced? Are some variables used twice?


Interpreting C-scores

What the pattern of responses to the MCT say about the level of moral competence ... more

Please read carefully the literature on the MCT:

Lind, G. (2019). How to teach moral competence. Logos. Chapter #4: How to make moral competence visible. download

More references on measurement


Calculating the Scores for the Six Moral Orientation

Add up the responses to the four arguments for each moral orientation and divide the sum by 4. This gives you the mean acceptability of a certain type of moral orientation. (The summation is already part of the calculation of the C-score.)

In most studies, these findings are depicted as a profile, whereby the Y-axis contains the Mean Acceptability (ranging from -4 to +4) and the X-axis contains the Six Types of Moral Orientation (sensu Kohlberg):: preference

Theses profiles show which moral orientation people value positively and which negatively, or neutrally. We assume that all six moral orientations can play a role in a person's decision-making, that is, that most people are oriented toward more than one moral principle (which is one of the reasons why we can get trapped into a moral dilemma). Aside from this, the question is to what degree a person takes moral consideration in account when making a decision. This question can be answered by the C-score (below).

-> Reporting the C-score

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