Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of teacher-paced versus self-paced instruction of critical thinking skills on the achievement of higher level thinking process and student attitudes in elementary students with a high, moderate, or low preference for teacher-structured learning.;Fifth grade students (n = 135) were randomly assigned to three groups in two elementary schools, two treatment and one control, using a random block design based on a high, moderate, or low preference of students for teacher-structured learning. Trained teachers, randomly assigned, instructed students in the treatment groups in the development of critical thinking skills. A seven-week program of instruction in verbal analogies, figural analogies, deductive thinking, and inductive thinking was conducted using a curriculum guide developed for the study which contained objectives, instructional strategies, scripted lesson plans, and instructional materials. Instruction in one treatment group was teacher-paced with the material presented, practiced, and corrected as a total class. Instruction in the second treatment group was self-paced where, after initial presentation, students proceeded at their own pace and corrected their own work. The control group did not receive instruction in critical thinking skills.;The major findings of the study were: (1) Students in the groups receiving instruction in critical thinking skills, both self-paced and teacher-paced, achieved significantly higher scores (p < 0.02) than the control group on measures most directly related to instruction, ability or intelligence and verbal analogy achievement. The direct teaching of the skills rather than the methodology was the significant factor in greater achievement. Scores on measures of critical thinking not directly related to the instructional program did not show significant differences between groups, suggesting no transfer occured in the ability to perform thinking tasks not specifically instructed. (2) Although there were indications that a preference for self-paced, self-structured learning resulted in higher achievement, the results were not statistically significant. A match between learning style preference and teaching methodology did not result in greater achievement. (3) Attitudes of students toward instruction of thinking skills were not affected significantly by teaching methodology nor by differing learning style preferences.



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