, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp 345-360
Date: 10 Feb 2006

Undergraduates' Evaluations of Developmental Claims and Their Identification of Information Sources

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Students in a large human development course rated the accuracy of 50 developmental claims. Half of the claims were specifically embedded in the course content, but the remaining claims were not addressed in the course. Students also identified the major information source for each developmental claim rated. From the beginning to the end of the course, students (especially high performers) improved in evaluating the accuracy of course-related developmental claims and increasingly attributed their ratings of these claims to professional information sources. Our study underscores the importance of sensitizing students to the role of research evidence in judging the credibility of claims in general education courses.

Sherry K. Bain is an Associate Professor in Educational Psychology and Counseling at the University of Tennessee and a member of the school psychology graduate faculty, Her research has included investigations of common beliefs in areas such as giftedness and educational psychology and their relationship to data-based evidence. Robert L. Williams is a Professor in Educational Psychology and Counseling at the University of Tennessee. His current research focuses on the role of critical thinking in a large human development course. Rachael Isaacs and Ashley Williams are doctoral students in the School Psychology Program at the University of Tennessee. Susan Stockdale is an Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology and Middle Grades Education at Kennesaw State University. Her recent research has related to critical thinking and cooperative learning in higher education