Effects on an Inquiry-based Curricular Program on Aspects of Critical Thinking Skills and Dispositions
Fonash, Jayne, Administration and Supervision - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Berry, Dennise, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
The purpose of this study was to determine whether student participation in an inquiry-based curricular treatment contributes to pre-post test differences in disposition toward critical thinking and critical thinking skills. To achieve this purpose, non-experimental pre-post test research design was utilized. The sample population for this study included 64 high school freshmen enrolled in a mathematics and science magnet program in a large suburban mid-Atlantic school district.
The unit of analysis for this study was the class of students. The school conducted pre- and post-testing with this class of students using the California Critical Thinking Skills Test and the California Critical Thinking Dispositions Inventory during the 2014-15 academic year. The researcher sought and received permission to access archival data for the class serving as the sample in this study.
Paired t-tests used to answer the research questions and to address the study purpose demonstrated no significant gains in critical thinking skills and dispositions. Additional analysis using repeated measures MANOVA for two specific sets of critical thinking skills and dispositions revealed increased post-test scores in analysis and inquisitiveness as the result of the curricular intervention, and increased post-test scores in interpretation and open-mindedness as a result of the curricular intervention.
A number of implications for practice and future research were discussed, including a recommendation for a longitudinal study utilizing the sample population for this study. Additional recommendations for practice included action research studies to inform teachers of the outcomes of curricular interventions designed to develop students’ critical thinking skills and dispositions, and additional teacher professional development focused on curricular alignment with critical thinking skills and dispositions and assessments which measure their change.
Recommendations for future research are focused at the K-12 level as there is limited research at this level. This research should address consideration of critical thinking skills and dispositions in the development of curriculum and pedagogy, assessment of critical thinking skills and dispositions independently and as part of a curriculum, and longitudinal studies to examine student growth between entry and exit points in K-12 education.
EDD (Doctor of Education)
inquiry, pedagogy, CCTST, CCTDI, critical thinking skills, critical thinking dispositions,
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