Forgiveness Education with Fifth Grade Students:

Published: 22 November 2021| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/sn4tfx4j4f.1
Suzanne Freedman


A forgiveness education curriculum, using children’s literature, based on a developmentally appropriate version of Enright’s process model, was taught to two classes of fifth graders attending a low-income school in a midwestern city. The goal of the education was for students to increase their knowledge about forgiveness, decrease anger, and for students to begin to consider forgiveness as a coping strategy for deep hurt and interpersonal conflict. An exploratory, mixed-methods, single group pretest-posttest design was used. The primary hypothesis of this study was that following participation in a 10-week forgiveness education curriculum, students would increase their understanding and knowledge of forgiveness. Our second hypothesis was that participants would increase their forgiveness toward a specific offender following the education, and our third hypothesis was that participants would show a decrease in anger following the forgiveness education. To test the three hypotheses an exploratory single group pretest-posttest, mixed-methods design was used.Following the education, the students illustrated statistically significant increased knowledge about forgiveness and forgiveness toward an offender. Data consists of 5th grade students' scores on the Enright Forgiveness Inventory -Children for 17 of the 30 participants. Thirteen students responded with a different offense than the one they reported at pretest so their data was not analyzed. Data also includes students' scores on the Conceptual Forgiveness Questionnaire, assessing students' cognitive knowledge of forgiveness and students' scores on the Beck Anger Inventory for Youth (BANI-Y) . The two-tailed paired t-test was conducted to examine whether changes from pretest to posttest were significantly different than zero. The mean difference scores were calculated by subtracting the pretest mean scores from the posttest mean scores. In addition to testing the significance of the change from pretest to posttest, effect sizes were calculated, using Cohen’s d, to gauge the magnitude of the effects of this forgiveness education program. To eliminate the potential influence of measurement errors in the pretest and the posttest, the Wilcoxon singed-rank test was performed. The Wilcoxon signed-rank test is a non-parametric method to test if the medians of the pretest and posttest-measured values of a paired sample are significantly different from each other. Results from the Wilcoxon signed-rank test are the same as the paired t-test: the changes in the EFI-C and Conceptual Forgiveness Measure from pretest to posttest are significant and the change in the BANI-Y is non-significant


Steps to reproduce

This research consists of a forgiveness education project with data being collected at pretest and then again after the forgiveness education at posttest. Assessments were self-report.


University of Northern Iowa


Moral Education, Elementary School, Forgiveness