Student perceptions of effective instruction and the development of critical thinking: a replication and extension
This study utilized data from the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education to test the robustness of research conducted by Pascarella et al. (J Coll Stud Dev 37:7–19, 1996) that explored the relationship between student perceptions of exposure to organized and clear instruction and growth in critical thinking skills among college freshmen. To accomplish this, we created fully-specified models that included statistical controls for an array of potential confounding influences such as, student race, sex, pre-college critical thinking ability, pre-college tested academic ability, parental educational degree attainment, pre-college academic motivation, and a measure of interaction with high school teachers. Net of these influences, our findings generally replicate those uncovered by Pascarella et al. (J Coll Stud Dev 37:7–19, 1996) which suggest that student perceptions of organized instruction are positively associated with gains in critical thinking. Perceptions of instructional clarity, however, failed to exert a statistically significant influence on the dependent variable. Lastly, the results of our analyses suggest the effect of student perceptions of organized instruction on critical thinking affects students similarly, regardless of tested academic preparation (ACT or equivalent score), sex, or pre-college critical thinking levels.
KeywordsEffective teaching Instruction Critical thinking Replication
The research on which this study was based was supported by a generous grant from the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash College to the Center for Research on Undergraduate Education at The University of Iowa.
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