Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




David Leslie


This study investigates the variance in critical thinking dispositions between arts and non-arts undergraduates using quantitative data from the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory (CCTDI), a survey instrument. Data were collected from a sample of 141 undergraduates at a large, urban, public university on the east coast. The population consisted of four groups: freshmen non-arts students, freshmen arts students, junior and senior non-arts students, and junior and senior arts students.;of the four groups which were compared, the junior and senior arts subjects showed the greatest mean total score on the CCTDI. This mean was significantly higher than that of freshmen non-arts students. Junior and senior arts students were also found to have significantly higher mean scores on several of the CCTDI subscales.;A consensus of findings in research literature on higher education and critical thinking indicate that an inquiry-based curriculum positively influences gains in critical thinking in undergraduates. Research shows, as well, that learning in the arts is largely inquiry-based. The synthesis of those findings and the results of this study indicate that exposure to learning in the arts positively influences students' disposition to think critically.



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