An examination of the critical thinking ability of entering first year university students and prospective social studies teachers nearing the completion of their high school teacher preparation programme at Memorial University of Newfoundland

Rice, Harvey Stanfield. (1986) An examination of the critical thinking ability of entering first year university students and prospective social studies teachers nearing the completion of their high school teacher preparation programme at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to determine the critical thinking abilities of entering first year university students and that of prospective social studies teachers nearing the completion of their high school teacher preparation programme at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Several variables, including university training, were explored to determine their relationship to critical thinking ability. -- Since social studies is often taught by graduates from disciplines not included in the social studies, it was necessary to assess the critical thinking ability of students enrolled in a variety of specializations. One hundred and sixty two students enrolled in appropriate methods courses, representing four areas of concentration, were tested. -- The sample of first year students (N = 164) was randomly selected, by class, from those enrolled in English 1000. This course was selected since it is a requirement for all first year students. -- The Ennis-Weir Critical Thinking Essay Test was used as an instrument to evaluate critical thinking ability. This test purports to measure a "person's ability to appraise an argument" rather than the conclusion emanating from the argument. -- Analysis of Variance was used to evaluate results. An examination of scores obtained by first year students indicated an interaction between sex and urbanness significant at the .07 level and an interaction between sex and maturity significant at the .09 level. Analysis of Variance for simple main effects revealed that the score of rural males was significantly better (p < .03) than the score of rural females. In addition, regular males (those not classified as mature students) achieved significantly higher (p < .04) scores than did regular females. -- ANOVA results of senior students indicated that no significant differences were detected among students enrolled in the high school teacher preparation programme according to sex, year, or area of specialization. However, significant interaction at the .09 level was detected between year and the number of philosophy courses. -- When comparisons were made between the total scores obtained by first year students and those achieved by fourth and fifth year students, significant differences were detected. The differences exist primarily between first year students and those senior students specializing in English, social studies, or science. -- A significant outcome of the present study was an extensive evaluation of the Ennis-Weir Critical Thinking Essay Test. Several questions were raised which could have serious implications for the extensive use of the instrument.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7955
Item ID: 7955
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 107-116.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1986
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: The Ennis-Weir critical thinking essay test; Thought and thinking; Reasoning (Psychology)--Testing; College freshmen--Newfoundland and Labrador; Social science teachers--Newfoundland and Labrador

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