Level of critical thinking of Iowa secondary agriculture students
W. Wade Miller
The central purpose of this study was to determine the ability of Iowa agriculture students to use critical thinking skills. The design for this investigation utilized descriptive research methodology;Cluster sampling was utilized to identify the sample for the study. A total of 668 agriculture students from 18 Iowa secondary schools served as the sample;An information sheet was developed to collect both demographic information as well as individual preferences on learning activities. The Cornell Critical Thinking Test was administered to respondents to assess their levels of critical thinking. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator[superscript] TM was also administered to determine the learning styles of the respondents;Major findings of the study were: (1) Critical thinking mean score of Iowa secondary agriculture students was lower than the mean scores measured in the two norm-referenced groups; and (2) two subtests of the Iowa Tests of Educational Development proved to be the two greatest predictors of levels of critical thinking;The major conclusion drawn from this study was that: given the basic tenets of agricultural education, its problem solving approach to instruction, and the evidence provided in this investigation, agriculture students in Iowa are developing critical thinking skills but at surprisingly low levels of development;As a result of the findings from this investigation, the following recommendations were made: (1) Agricultural educators must incorporate principles of critical thinking and problem-solving into their curriculum. (2) Use of appropriate instructional methods to stimulate students with various learning styles will enhance student learning and levels of critical thinking.