Date

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Teaching, Learning, and Technology

First Adviser

Columba, Lynn

Other advisers/committee members

Hammond, Thomas C.; Schray, Keith J.; Heydenberk, Warren R.

Abstract

Everyone needs better critical analysis (CA) skills to evaluate and process the overflow of information available today. These skills are only going to be more crucial for the next generation given the logarithmic growth of factual information projected for the future (Çavdar & Doe, 2012; Webber, Boon & Johnston, 2005).In this study, early-year college science analyzed two scientific papers in a counter-balance study. One analysis paper was written prior to interacting with any online lessons and one was written after a week of access to one of the specially-designed online lessons. One third of the students participating in the study chose not to access their assigned educational intervention.The depth of inclusion of key CA elements in their scientific study analysis papers were then used as an indicator of the CA skill level of the students themselves. Trained raters scored the level of CA skill development evident in the student papers using a previously developed CA rubric. A score of 20 out of a maximum of 30 points was considered a basic CA skill competency level. The highest individual paper score in this study was 18.75 which is considered “Developing” on the CA rubric’s scale.This study found no significant differences in student CA skill development between two different treatment groups: an interactive game and an expert video. Qualitative pre- and post-test subject data indicated high student interest in science writing instruction but problems in the timing of the interventions. Logistical and design lessons learned in this study are provided to inform and improve similar future studies.

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