Comparing the Democratic Maturity of 200 Canadian College Students with Rural and Urban College Students in the U.S

By Chow, Peter | College Student Journal, June 2000 | Go to article overview

Comparing the Democratic Maturity of 200 Canadian College Students with Rural and Urban College Students in the U.S


Chow, Peter, College Student Journal


Comparisons were made between 200 Canadian college students in years 1 through 4 with rural and urban college students in the United States using scores from The Democratic Maturity Test. The Canadian students did better on the DEMO test than the U.S. rural students, but less well than the U.S. urban ones. Validity tests were conducted on the DEMO test for use with such Canadian students, and the test proved satisfactory for such purposes.

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The present study sought to make meaningful comparisons between a group of 200 college students from Canada with both rural and urban college students in the United States. It sought further to assess the validity of scores from The Democratic Maturity Test (DEMO) for use with such Canadian college students in relation to existing validity studies for college populations in the United States and Australia (now in progress), and as contained in the Manual for the DEMO test (Cassel, 1999, and Cassel and Kolstad, 1998).

Groups Used in the Comparison

The Canadian students included 200 students presently enrolled in the freshman through the senior year in a college in Canada. They ranged in age from 18 to 56 years, with a mean age of 21.64 years, and with a standard deviation of 4.48 years. There were 123 females, and 77 male students involved. Ninety of them were feshmen, 79 were sophomores, 28 juniors, and only 3 seniors. The freshmen from a rural college in Texas included 36 students ranging in age from 18 to 20 years with a mean age of 18.28 years, and with a standard deviation of 0.51 years. It included 23 females and 16 males (Kolstad, Lewis, and McCabe, 1999). The urban university students came from three different states --Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas. As displayed in the DEMO Manual (1998). It included 1,452 students ranging in age from 18 to 43 years, with a mean age of 21.23 years, and with a standard deviation of 4.76 years. It included all four college year students and graduate students as well. Nine hundred and eighty-two were females and 470 males.

Test Used for Comparisons

Scores from The Democratic Maturity Test (DEMO) were used as the basis for comparison. The test is comprised of 200 true/false type items that are equally distributed with 25 in each of 8 part scores. The test is based on the John Dewey concept of a democracy--"the interdependence of independent individuals." The first 8 part scores seek to measure Personal Maturity as the independent factor in the Dewey definition of a democracy (the ability to compete in an economically based society). The second 8 part scores seek to measure Social Integration, and the ability to get along with all different kinds of people(races, religions, and cultures). The test has a "lie" indicator built into it, where 21 pairs of items that are either opposites or non-compatible are assessed for agreement.

Findings of Study

The study found meaningful comparisons between the rural U.S. college students classified as "rural" as opposed to those classified as "urban." In general, the results of the study suggested that the Canadian students were more superior in democratic maturity than the U.S. rural group, but less so than the U.S. urban college population.

Canadian vs. Rural United States

The data contained in Table 1 below depicts the significance of a t-statistic between means for the scores of the Canadian and rural United States students:

1. Canadian students tended to be significantly older than the rural United States ones. 2. Six of the 8 part scores showed no statistical significant differences.

3. Two of the 8 part scores showed a significant difference in favor of the Canadian students.

4. Nine of the 11 part scores favored the Canadian students; so based on the sign test the Canadian students were significantly better in terms of democratic maturity than the rural college students from the United States. …

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