A quantitative assessment of an application of Halpern's Teaching for Critical Thinking in a business class
Joanne R. Reid, Northern Illinois University, United States
Northern Illinois University . Awarded
Can Critical Thinking be taught and learned? The author used a pre-experimental research method to answer this question. The foundation of this research study was Halpern's Teaching for Critical Thinking model. The instructional design paradigm was the 2003 Cognitive Training Model of Foshay, Silber, and Stelnicki.
The author developed a course of study based on these elements using Halpern’s Critical Thinking Across the Curriculum: A Brief Edition of Thought and Knowledge (1997) as the primary text. The course was offered to two sessions of a senior class in business administration at a Midwestern university. Two quantitative assessments were used to measure the acquisition of Critical Thinking skills. The first set of the quantitative assessments was a Module-by-Module 10-question, True/False quiz in a pre-test/post-test protocol to determine if Critical Thinking skills were being acquired. The second quantitative assessment was the California Critical Thinking Skills Test. The students undertook this assessment prior to beginning the pedagogical treatment, and also at the end of the unit of study.
Statistical analyses of the Module-by-Module pre-tests/post-tests revealed that learning had occurred in every Module. Statistical analyses of the results from the California Critical Thinking Skills Test revealed significant improvement in six of the seven parameters of the assessment. Based on these statistical results, the null hypothesis was rejected. Based on these statistical results, the alternate hypothesis, that significant improvement would occur in the Critical Thinking skills of the participants, was accepted.
This was the first study that indicates statistically that Critical Thinking can be taught, learned, and transferred across domains. However, improvements of the author’s pedagogical treatment were merited. These included improved chunking to improve student learning by dividing long or complex chapters into smaller, more targeted segments. Further, the development of the present treatment and of an expanded, full-semester course of study were considered.
Two recommendations for future research were proposed. First, the author considered it important to expand the statistical sample. Second, the author perceived that a control group is needed to establish the experimental significance of the study.
Reid, J.R. A quantitative assessment of an application of Halpern's Teaching for Critical Thinking in a business class. Ph.D. thesis, Northern Illinois University.
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