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01/24/2018

Critical Thinking among College Students – Part 5

Problem Definition

Fostering and gaining the great understanding of being able to assist students to think critically is very significant to their academic success. Students have been increasingly found to lack the motivation of employing their contemporary set of critical thinking skills, they, in turn, mess up in the development of those skills which befits their level of intellect or grade levels. The problem at hand deals with students at their ninth-grade level of education who lack motivation or have challenges in developing and utilizing critical thinking skills in the classroom throughout the school year.

The ability to facilitate the development of critical thinking skills is very significant to be addressed. This is possible through some individual assignments, group problems, projects, and lessons. Through emphasizing continuously on the nurturing and development of critical thinking skills, students enjoy the opportunity to experience to learn how to come up with effective solutions to problems and also to add up their level of knowledge. As critical thinking expansion continues students in possession of developed skills tend to concentrate on strategy more than the issue at hand (Mezirow, 1990). On the other hand, less developed students tend to focus on the problem rather than focusing on the strategy.

Methodology

Each of the students received a notebook with a research number of each student on the front. The students used their chosen word to complete the code which gave room for easy identification at the same time keeping their identity undisclosed. The students were required to hand in the notebooks at the end of the session, but this was done after filling in the minute papers. The notebooks were supposed to have each date stated at the top of a new page and submitted to the teacher before the students departed from the class. In case of absence of one or more students, they were given a zero, and this score did not necessarily reflect on their abilities; it indicated that the students were absent in class that day. Also, their weekly average did not include the zero score; otherwise, it would have led to misconstruction of the results.

The notebooks that were employed in the research were only allowed to leave the school grounds under the researcher’s control and were kept in a contained room all the other times. The area was locked and confidential for effective control to avoid losing them. As the end of each week approached, the minute papers of each student were read and given scores per rubric (Appendix C) and a survey carried out on a weekly basis to help in the documentation of their progress (Appendix D) was completed by the person carrying out the research. Two ratings and two ratings made up the weekly survey and these ratings were based on the minute papers for a school week.

The results of each of each week were graphed, and they provided a growing picture to commence with result analysis. Records of gender separation results were also made available which gave room for a different information layer. By carrying out gender separation, the emphasis focused on whether there would be better performance from one gender. The teacher’s weekly survey was collected on a weekly basis and consisted of two agree/disagree questions. At this point, the teacher was given a chance of providing comments and recommendations as well. Analysis of the all the captured information was carried out separately or as a whole, for example. Gender, weekly, daily, for deeper comprehension levels.

The notebooks provided a substantial amount of information that helps in understanding the backward slides, stagnation or progress made by each student through the questions they posed as well as their minute papers. Furthermore, the students were instrumental in the provision of a firsthand look at the material comprehension, employment of critical skills in action, and thought process of each student.

Timeline

There were three phases in the study timeline, and the whole process took at least seven calendar weeks (Jeong, 2007). The first phase included the teacher and the school administration being conducted two weeks before the commencing of the research to seek deeper research understanding, background, permission, full understanding of study cooperation and partial creation of the number of participants. The teacher sent an email to all the parents involved to notify them about the study. The first and the second weeks consisted of four class days each and the third week was three class days.

The second phase included the actual timeline of the research (Appendix A) which summed up to three weeks of research that was equal to four calendar weeks. The teacher submitted the students’ weekly question surveys on a weekly basis. The minute papers were also collected on a weekly basis to award scores and also to record the results from the weekly and rubric survey. The third phase was the data collection conclusion and commenced data analysis. The third phase consumed at least three weeks, which provided the necessary information that would assist in answering the research the questions.

Results

The girls displayed a constant improvement in their weekly scores and about 62% of the daily average time, yet they were less than boys. Therefore, without the comparison of an equal amount of students, this can result in a curve in the analysis which might favor the girls. However, with a 17%, or 4 students, difference it is quite a small variation to provide an insight into how the performance of the students would be had there been exact boys to girls’ ratio. It shows that the students accepted the task regardless of the gender parity, i.e.., composing of minute papers, and were successful in building their critical thinking skills each time they wrote with the final week with veritably focusing on the skills they had gained that would improve their levels of critical thinking.

The teacher mentioned the scoring breakdown of each week throughout the weekly results sections. These results show that there was a steady increase in critical thinking skills throughout the whole study process. The second week presented issues that made the students appear to lose vigor and enthusiasm of the daily task which represents the overall scores of all the students (LoBiondo-Wood, 2017). Although, by the study’s last week the students had recorded a significant improvement of their skills in comparison to the previous scores of two weeks while the depth of their minute papers a displayed a substantial level of critical thinking. The students also posed questions that showed that they had taken new understanding levels.

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