Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)

8-2009

Type of Culminating Activity

Dissertation

Degree Title

Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction

Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies

Major Advisor

Dr. Keith Thiede

Abstract

This study compared the critical thinking (CT) skills of Grade 12 students (N = 60) enrolled in different academic programs: International Baccalaureate (IB), Advanced Placement (AP), and a control group (NON). CT was assessed using the Ennis-Weir Critical Thinking Essay Test, which provided measures of five CT subscales: Evaluation of Argument, Deduction, Inference, Recognition of Argument, and Interpretation; and a separate category of CT skill: Use of Emotive Language to Persuade.

Despite similar demographics across groups, there were significant differences in three of the five subscales of CT and Use of Emotive Language to Persuade. IB and AP scores were higher than NON scores in Inference, Recognition of Assumption, and Interpretation. IB and AP scores did not differ across the five subscales; however, IB scores were higher than AP and NON scores in Use of Emotive Language to Persuade. AP and NON scores did not differ in this category.

These findings suggest that academic programming may have an effect on the development of students' CT skills. However, this study did not examine instruction within the programs; therefore, it is not possible to attribute the reported differences solely to the programs.

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