Title page for ETD etd-12012009-155424

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Schanz, Dale Beglis
Author's Email Address dale.schanz@cpsb.org
URN etd-12012009-155424
Title Factors That Influence the Critical Thinking Skills of Public School Teachers in a Parish in Southwest Louisiana
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Human Resource Education Workforce Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Burnett, Michael F. Committee Chair
Verma, Satish Committee Co-Chair
Kotrlik, Joe W. Committee Member
Redmann, Donna H. Committee Member
Cohen, Alex S. Dean's Representative
  • critical thinking skills
  • public school teachers
Date of Defense 2009-11-09
Availability unrestricted
The purpose of this study is to determine the influence of selected personal and

professional demographic characteristics on the critical thinking abilities of teachers in a parish

in Southwest Louisiana. The study is a correlational design using a descriptive survey technique

with questions for the data collection. The examiner looked at attribute independent variables –

characteristics that a subject has before a study begins such as gender, age, race, highest level of

education completed, and years of teaching experience. Three hundred and twenty-four teachers

in twelve public schools (three high schools, four middle schools, and five elementary schools)

participated in the research. The examiner hypothesized that critical thinking is a by-product of

higher-level post-graduate degrees. However, this theory was not proven in the study. There

were few findings that showed relationships to the independent variables. One finding was that

Caucasians had higher critical thinking scores than other races. Another finding was that social

studies teachers at the middle school level had higher scores on the Watson Glazer Critical

Thinking Appraisal Short Form Test sub-scale of “Interpretation” than did middle school

teachers in other content areas. The researcher found that 51 males (15.8%) and 272 (84.2%)

females participated in the study, showing a gender disparity among teachers who participated in

the study. The researcher concluded that high school mathematics teachers had higher critical

thinking skills in three sub-scales than other high school teachers in other areas. This conclusion

was based on the finding showing that high school mathematics teachers had higher scores on

the WGCTA sub-scales of Deduction, Interpretation, and Overall Scales than high school

teachers who did not identify mathematics as a primary content area of teaching. The researcher

recommends that additional research should be done to confirm or disprove the finding that math

content influences critical thinking. The researcher also recommends that additional research

studies should concentrate on public school teachers of algebra versus teachers of geometry

versus teachers of calculus.

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