Date of Award:

1973

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department:

Education

Advisor/Chair:

James P. Shaver

Abstract

The main objective of the Cedar High School (C.H.S.) Study was to develop a curriculum that would be useful to the social studies educator interested in teaching critical thinking skills to high school students. The model for teaching critical thinking that was followed during the C.H.S. study included three requirements. The first was to identify those critical thinking skills that would be useful to students during discussion of controversial issues. The second requirement of the critical thinking model was to teach these context specific critical thinking skills to students. This requirement was met by using a variety of materials, including a demonstration video tape that provided a written and verbal description of each of the critical thinking skills taught in the C.H.S. study followed by a demonstration of the skill. The third requirement of the model was that students who have been taught the critical thinking skills be given the opportunity to use the skills in realistic situations. This requirement was met by having students meet in small groups to discuss controversial issues using the critical thinking skills which had been taught to them via the demonstration video tape.

An important part of the study was to record students on video tape during their discussions and then to have students view the video tapes and perform a self-evaluation as to how often they had used each of the previously identified critical thinking skills. This self-evaluation was performed using a Seminar Discussion Check List (S.D.C.L.) prepared as part of the C.H.S. study. The S.D.C.L. identified each of the critical thinking categories, and gave a verbal description of the skill, as well as providing an example of the skill in a conversational setting.

Students from a social issues and an American history class at C.H.S. were randomly assigned to three treatment classifications. The classifications included video, audio, and non-media groups. The video and audio groups were recorded on video or audio tape for later self-evaluation by students using the S.D.C.L. the non-media group, which was designated the control group, was not recorded but carried out its self-evaluation from memory.

The effectiveness of the video tape procedures was assessed with a posttest-only control group design, using analysis of covariance as the statistical technique with students' overall grade point average (G.P.A.) as the covariate for the first series of posttest given in November, 1972, and with G.P.A. and November posttest scores as additional covariates for a second posttest given in December, 1972. The second series of posttest were given to assess any variability in the critical thinking retention rates among students in the three treatment classifications.

The dependent variables were the Social Issues Analysis Test No. 1, (SIAT No. 1) and the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal (W.G.C.T.A.). The S.D.C.L. was also used as a dependent variable. Inasmuch as it was impossible to get individual scores from the audio tapes of student discussions, an analysis of variance using group means on the S.D.C.L. was performed.

The hypotheses were that students in the experimental video discussion groups in the social issues and American history classes would have higher November and December posttest mean critical thinking scores on all three dependent variables than would students in the audio and non-media discussion groups. The null hypothesis, however, was accepted for each hypothesis.

It was recommended that social studies educators continued to investigate the effectiveness of the three-step model for teaching the critical thinking process. It was also recommended that additional research be conducted to assess the relative effectiveness of video and audio tape feedback as part of the minicourse model for teaching. A final recommendation was that additional research be conducted concerning the effectiveness of an observational system such as the S.D.C.L. as an instrument for self-evaluation and as a device for collecting research data.

Comments

The main objective of the Cedar High School (C.H.S.) Study was to develop a curriculum that would be useful to the social studies educator interested in teaching critical thinking skills to high school students. The model for teaching critical thinking that was followed during the C.H.S. study included three requirements. The first was to identify those critical thinking skills that would be useful to students during discussion of controversial issues. The second requirement of the critical thinking model was to teach these context specific critical thinking skills to students. This requirement was met by using a variety of materials, including a demonstration video tape that provided a written and verbal description of each of the critical thinking skills taught in the C.H.S. study followed by a demonstration of the skill. The third requirement of the model was that students who have been taught the critical thinking skills be given the opportunity to use the skills in realistic situations. This requirement was met by having students meet in small groups to discuss controversial issues using the critical thinking skills which had been taught to them via the demonstration video tape.

An important part of the study was to record students on video tape during their discussions and then to have students view the video tapes and perform a self-evaluation as to how often they had used each of the previously identified critical thinking skills. This self-evaluation was performed using a Seminar Discussion Check List (S.D.C.L.) prepared as part of the C.H.S. study. The S.D.C.L. identified each of the critical thinking categories, and gave a verbal description of the skill, as well as providing an example of the skill in a conversational setting.

Students from a social issues and an American history class at C.H.S. were randomly assigned to three treatment classifications. The classifications included video, audio, and non-media groups. The video and audio groups were recorded on video or audio tape for later self-evaluation by students using the S.D.C.L. the non-media group, which was designated the control group, was not recorded but carried out its self-evaluation from memory.

The effectiveness of the video tape procedures was assessed with a posttest-only control group design, using analysis of covariance as the statistical technique with students' overall grade point average (G.P.A.) as the covariate for the first series of posttest given in November, 1972, and with G.P.A. and November posttest scores as additional covariates for a second posttest given in December, 1972. The second series of posttest were given to assess any variability in the critical thinking retention rates among students in the three treatment classifications.

The dependent variables were the Social Issues Analysis Test No. 1, (SIAT No. 1) and the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal (W.G.C.T.A.). The S.D.C.L. was also used as a dependent variable. Inasmuch as it was impossible to get individual scores from the audio tapes of student discussions, an analysis of variance using group means on the S.D.C.L. was performed.

The hypotheses were that students in the experimental video discussion groups in the social issues and American history classes would have higher November and December posttest mean critical thinking scores on all three dependent variables than would students in the audio and non-media discussion groups. The null hypothesis, however, was accepted for each hypothesis.

It was recommended that social studies educators continued to investigate the effectiveness of the three-step model for teaching the critical thinking process. It was also recommended that additional research be conducted to assess the relative effectiveness of video and audio tape feedback as part of the minicourse model for teaching. A final recommendation was that additional research be conducted concerning the effectiveness of an observational system such as the S.D.C.L. as an instrument for self-evaluation and as a device for collecting research data.

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