Date of Award

1979

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

School

School of Education

Program

Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Robert A. Williams

Second Advisor

Robert J. Cruise

Third Advisor

Joseph G. Smoot

Abstract

Problem. Development of critical thinking skills is commonly accepted as a desirable outcome of secondary education. The Seventh-day Adventist Church has also accepted this as one of the goals for its educational system. It was the purpose of the present study to compare critical thinking skills developed in Seventh-day Adventist young people in Seventh-day Adventist boarding academies, Seventh-day Adventist day academies, and public high schools. Since earlier studies have shown critical thinking to be negatively correlated with dogmatism and positively correlated with intelligence, both dogmatism and intelligence were included as variables in the study.

Method. Three hundred and twelve subjects were chosen by a stratified random method from among all Seventh-day Adventist college freshmen in attendance at any of three Seventh-day Adventist institutions of higher learning during the fall of 1977. In order to qualify for the study, subjects had to have attended one type of secondary school for at least three years and have graduated from secondary school in 1977. Each subject was asked to fill in the Rokeach Dogmatism Scale and to take the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal. American College Testing Program scores were gleaned from school records to serve as an indication of intelligence. Sixty-six percent (207) of the stratified random sample selected for the study actually completed both instruments. Two statistical methods were used in analyzing the data. The Mann-Whitney U test was used to test hypotheses dealing with differences between subject groups. The Kendall rank correlation coefficient (tau) was used to test hypotheses dealing with relationships between variables.

Results. None of the between-group comparisons of critical thinking, dogmatism, or American College Testing Program scores were statistically significant. Analysis of relationships between critical thinking scores an dogmatism scores yielded statistically significant negative correlations for two of the three groups tested: Seventh-day Adventist graduates of public high schools (tau = - .19, significant at the .01 level) and Seventh-day Adventist graduates of Seventh-day Adventist day academies (tau = -.17, significant at the .05 level). The correlation (tau) for Seventh-day Adventist graduates of Seventh-day Adventist boarding academies was -.01, with an associated probability of .44. Correlations between critical thinking scores and American College Testing Program scores for all three groups yielded positive results, significant at the .001 level. Correlations range from .52 for Seventh-day Adventist graduates of Seventh-day Adventist boarding academies to .61 for Seventh-day Adventist graduates of public high schools.

Conclusions. The findings of this study do not suggest that Seventh-day Adventist graduates of any of the three types of secondary school studied are either more or less skilled in critical thinking than their counterparts from the other types of schools. Similarly, the study does not provide support for any conclusions that graduates of one type of secondary school are either more or less dogmatic or score higher or lower on the American College Testing Program tests than do graduates of wither of the other two types of secondary schools studied.

Subject Area

College freshmen, Dogmatism--Testing.

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