Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Joyce VanTassel-Baska


This exploratory study examined how well elementary language arts teachers participating in a federal project to raise students' critical thinking abilities scored on tests of critical and creative thinking. Furthermore, it investigated the ways in which these teachers of the language arts have developed their understanding of critical thinking skills, what types of training they bring to the classroom which might enhance the teaching of critical thinking skills, and the methods by which they foster critical thinking in the classroom. Finally, this study examined the relationship among teacher scores on critical and creative thinking tests, their professional development hours, and results on a scale of teacher behaviors.;The study was a mixed design that employed the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Assessment, the Abbreviated Torrance Test for Adults, the Wenglinsky Questionnaire, and an interview protocol. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze data and a correlation was run to determine if a relationship existed between tested dimensions.;Overall, the research findings suggest that experimental teachers sought professional development options that dealt with higher order thinking skills more regularly than did comparison teachers. Familiarity with higher order thinking skills may have enabled this group to achieve a slightly higher score on a critical thinking test existed. Implications for practice suggest that further research should replicate this study with a larger sample size to substantiate findings.



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