Date

2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Education

Department

Educational Leadership

First Adviser

Sperandio, Jill

Other advisers/committee members

Kong, Peggy; Donohue, Louise; Lin, Yu-Hao Kate

Abstract

The purpose of this non-experimental, causal comparative study was to examine the development of critical thinking in eleventh-and-twelfth grade students registered to study the International Baccalaureate-Diploma Programme (IB-DP) and its mandatory Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course. Ex-post facto data, collected by the American International School of Kuwait from the fall of 2008 to the spring of 2011, was analyzed to determine whether enrollment in the TOK course significantly impacted critical thinking skill development, as measured by the Test of Everyday Reasoning (TER). The analysis of the data showed that students enrolled in the IB-DP developed critical thinking skills to a greater degree than those students in the comparison group. Further analysis, utilizing Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA), revealed that prior academic ability, as demonstrated by PSAT scores, eliminated the effect of treatment on student TER performance. Therefore, it was determined that students' performance on the PSAT was a greater indicator of critical thinking skill improvement than participation in the TOK course. However, the rudimentary supplemental analysis of high and low performers on the PSAT-Critical Reading may suggest that the IB-DP and the TOK course are beneficial to those students that self-select to enter a rigorous program despite previous poor performance on standardized tests. It is suggested that further research be done with these students to determine if significant differences do indeed exist for this student.

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