Date of Award

Summer 8-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education & Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Marcia A. B. Delcourt, PhD

Second Advisor

Karen A. Burke, CSJ, EdD

Third Advisor

Donald J. Treffinger, PhD

Abstract

This study’s primary purposes were to: (a) explore relationships among creative thinking abilities, learning styles, and problem-solving styles of high school students who were talented in the domains of athletics, science, and the visual arts; and to (b) investigate the perceptions of creativity (person, process, product, and press), learning styles, and problem-solving styles of students who showed creative potential. Both quantitative and qualitative methodologies were utilized. The 105 participants had a mean age of 16.22 and were enrolled in three high schools with similar demographics and academic offerings. Participants were athletes from interscholastic varsity teams, science students from honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses, and visual arts students from AP and studio art courses who were nominated by their teachers or coaches. The nine participants in the qualitative study were selected from the original sample using purposeful sampling; each talent domain was equally represented. Selection was based on students’ creativity scores from the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (Verbal B and Figural B) and from teachers’ nominations. The possible relationships between creative thinking abilities as assessed by the TTCT Verbal B and TTCT Figural B, learning styles as profiled by the Building Excellence Survey (BE), and problem-solving styles as computed by VIEW were analyzed. Students in the qualitative study participated in semi-structured interviews and follow-up email questionnaires, and all data were transcribed and coded for emerging themes using a software program to assist with data coding and retrieval. Results of the correlational analyses supported few significant relationships between VIEW or the BE with the TTCT Verbal B or the TTCT Figural B. Significant relationships resulted between the BE and VIEW. Student perceptions of their creativity, learning styles, and problem-solving styles showed differences and similarities among and between talent domains. Implications of these findings suggest further research is needed to understand individual differences and talent domain influences on creativity, learning styles, and problem-solving styles.

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