The relationship between personal epistemology and accountability on critical thinking disposition

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Peterson, Alice
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Daniel C. Robinson
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Curriculum and Instruction

The intent of this study was to examine the relationship between personal epistemology, complexity of thought given three different levels of accountability instruction, and critical thinking dispositions. Each of these areas has been examined in the literature separately, but the relationship between them has never been investigated;The participants consisted of 128 undergraduates, 81 female and 47 male, all of whom had earned sixty or more semester credits and were all enrolled in a required interdisciplinary seminar at a small private liberal arts college in the midwest;Personal epistemology was measured by the Learning Environment Preference (Moore, 1987), which is based on William Perry's stages of intellectual development. The integrative complexity of thought was measured by the Integrative Complexity Code developed by Schroder, Driver, & Streufert (1967). Critical thinking dispositions were measured by the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory (Facione, & Facione, 1992);The study was a 2 x 3 factorial design. The data were analyzed using an analysis of variance to compare personal epistemology, complexity of thought, and critical thinking dispositions. Correlations were also computed to examine relationships between demographic variables and the other variables;Significant results showed participants who hold the personal epistemological belief that knowledge is constructed or relativistic have stronger dispositions toward critical thinking than do participants who hold the personal epistemological belief that knowledge is absolute or concrete. Older students write significantly more integratively and have higher dispositions toward critical thinking. Holding participants accountable for a position on an issue had no significant impact on critical thinking dispositions. Finally, the participants whose attitudes demonstrated the greatest shift in the semester course were those who hold the epistemological belief that knowledge is concrete or absolute. All seven subscales of the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory had higher posttest means than pretest means for participants who believed knowledge is absolute or concrete.

Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 1995