Date of Award

Spring 5-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education & Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Marcia A. B. Delcourt, PhD

Second Advisor

K. Michael Hibbard, PhD

Third Advisor

Jacob C. Greenwood, EdD

Abstract

This study investigates the impact of a reflection treatment program on the critical thinking skills and reflection level of high school science students. Although research indicates there is a connection between reflection and critical thinking, there is limited empirical research related to this topic in high school science classrooms. Therefore, this study will attempt to determine whether a reflection implementation not only improves selected domains of critical thinking, but also impacts the level of reflective thinking in high school science students.

The research took place in a small, suburban high school in the northeast from January to May of the year 2013. A sample of convenience comprised of high school students, 9th through 12th grade was used. The study was quasi-experimental in nature, with a pretest/posttest comparison group design using intact classrooms of students. Administration of two instruments measuring the characteristics of dispositions associated with critical thinking and the level of reflective thinking were used. The scores of those students who received the reflection treatment were compared to the scores of those students in the traditional science classroom who did not receive the treatment to determine the impact of this method of delivering instruction. In the multivariate analysis of variance, data revealed that there was a statistically significant difference, (p = .020) between the means of the treatment and comparison groups as measured by the Reflective Thinking Questionnaire (RTQ). The reflective practice treatment group scored significantly higher for the sub-scale of Reflection (p = .007) than the comparison group. In the hierarchal multiple regression analysis, the variable of Reflection, as measured by the RTQ, significantly predicted mean scores of Mental Focus (p = .022) and Cognitive Integrity (p = .048) as measured by the California Measure of Mental Motivation (CM3). Findings suggest that students who engage in reflective practice in science class will have significantly higher levels of reflection, as measured by the RTQ, than students who do not. In addition, students’ levels of reflective thinking predict their critical thinking dispositions of Mental Focus and Cognitive Integrity.

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