Criminal Justice Majors’ Basic Knowledge of U.S. Constitutional Rights and Pedagogical Implications

Janet Heuer, Porter E. Coggins


Criminal justice students preparing at the university level will be required to possess knowledge and understanding of applicable constitutional law, rights and responsibilities upon entering their profession to ensure the competent execution of the duties of which they will be entrusted to perform.  Students majoring in the criminal justice field of scholarship at one university situated in the Great Lakes region of the United States participated in this study by completing a pre-instruction and post-instruction questionnaire designed to measure their confidence of Amendments I, IV, X, XIV, and XV of the U.S. Constitution.  The intent of this study was to provide a mechanism in which to assess student understanding of basic ideas and examples of each of the amendments.  The outcome of the survey study is to provide insight to the effectiveness of instructional pedagogy in a scholarship of teaching framework for undergraduate students majoring in criminal justice. The students participating this this survey were criminal justice majors and were surveyed over four academic semesters spanning two years.  The results indicate a significant difference (p <.001) between pre-survey and post-survey questionnaire aggregate scores at the alpha = .05 level with a moderate effect size of .45. Individual pre-survey and post-survey questionnaire scores on confidence of individual amendments were also all significant at the alpha = .05 level but with small effect sizes. Implications of small effect sizes are interpreted with respect to program and pedagogical implications.

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International Journal of Higher Education
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