Date of Award

2003

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Higher Education Administration PhD

First Advisor

Hinsdale Bernard

Second Advisor

James R. Jeffery

Third Advisor

Mark Clasen

Abstract

Problem. Physician assistants are required to possess critical thinking skills and excellent intellectual skills to achieve the level of autonomy expected by supervising physicians. No scientific research has been identified to determine the most effective means of educating the physician assistant students. The purpose of the research study was to determine whether a statistical difference exists between students educated in a cooperative learning environment versus a traditional lecture environment. The dependent variable utilized in this study included critical thinking skills, cognitive achievement, and attitudes towards learning in teams. Using an experimental research design, students were educated in a cooperative learning format versus a traditional lecture format. The findings revealed no statistically significant difference in cognitive achievement and critical thinking scores between the cooperative learning section and the lecture section. The instrument utilized to measure attitudes toward learning in teams was divided into nine sub-hypotheses. In six of the nine sub-hypotheses, the null hypotheses were retained. Three o f the subhypotheses revealed statistically significant differences between the two groups on the following items: all members o f my group were integral to the group’s success, each member o f my group contributed to the effectiveness of our presentation and success of the group, and my group knew the goal of the group and understood its importance. Although the research findings in this study were not consistent with the cooperative learning literature at the elementary and secondary levels, the findings were consistent with an eariler dissertation completed in 1984 at the college level.

Subject Area

Physicians' assistants--Education, Team learning approach in education.

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