Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




The purpose of this study was to determine whether teaching critical thinking skills with the microcomputer produces a greater increase in the thinking skills of middle school students than teaching critical thinking skills with conventional methods.;The sample consisted of ten intact classes (N = 204) of seventh grade students who had registered for a class called, "Problem Solving with the Microcomputer." Five of the classes were assigned at random to two treatment groups and five classes served as the control group. Trained teachers instructed the treatment groups in a nine week course in critical thinking and problem solving consisting of four learning modules: analogous reasoning, logical reasoning, inductive/deductive reasoning, and problem analysis. Both treatment groups were alternately taught two of the learning modules with the aid of the microcomputer and two of the modules taught with conventional methods. The control group received no special instruction in critical thinking skills. The conventional instruction consisted of lecture, discussion, and paper-and-pencil worksheets covering the same instructional objectives presented by the microcomputer software. All classes met daily for 50 minute periods. Selected subtests from the Ross Test of Higher Cognitive Processes and from the Test of Cognitive Skills were administered to all students as pretest-posttest measures of critical thinking skills. The Otis-Lennon Mental Ability Test was administered as a pretest-posttest measure of scholastic aptitude.;The major findings of the study were: (1) Students in both treatment groups, microcomputer and control, who received instruction in verbal analogies achieved significantly higher gains (p < .01) than the control group who received no instruction. A close match between the instruction and the assessment instrument seemed to be a contributing factor to this result. (2) No significant differences (p < .05) were found between the control, microcomputer, and conventional groups on logical reasoning, inductive/deductive reasoning, or problem analysis skills. (3) No significant differences (p < .05) in scholastic aptitude were found between the three groups as a result of instruction in critical thinking skills.



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