The Direct Teaching of Thinking Skills for Improvement of Reading Test Results
Aegler, Carl A.
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The problem: The purpose of this study was to address the direct teaching of critical thinking and problem solving skills, and to determine if the process benefited fourth grade students by increasing scores on a reading end-of-book test. Procedures: Two similar, but not randomly selected fourth grade classes, were chosen to take part in this study. Both groups were given identical criterion referenced end-of-book reading pretests. The experimental group was then treated with the CoRT program (Cognitive Research Trust). The CoRT program emphasized the direct teaching of critical thinking skills. The control group received regular reading instruction during this period. After 12 weeks of instruction in the CoRT Program, both groups were given the post test to determine the gain which had occurred. An ANCOVA was run on the data to make statistical adjustments on the dependent variable or testing device. Comparisons were made on the adjusted means. Findings: A comparison of adjusted means indicated that there were no statistically significance differences between the experimental group and the control group at the .05 level. The null hypothesis was not rejected as a result of the findings. A delta test was calculated to determine if there were practical significance to the findings. The delta test indicated that a practical significance did exist. Conclusion: No statistically significant differences were found to exist between the experimental and control groups. Consensus by leading researchers support the findings of the statistical and practical significance although only practical significance was supported by this study. Recommendations: Testing and accurately measuring the gain in critical thinking and problem solving skills is extremely hard to accomplish. The writer suggests more research is needed to determine the extent to which critical thinking skills can be taught. Past research, coupled with encouraging results in this study, indicated that the implementation of CoRT critical thinking skills into the curriculum may produce favorable results.
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