Presentation Title

The Effects of Introductory Philosophy Education on the Critical Thinking Skills of Pre-College Students

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Brian J. Collins

Start Date

23-11-2019 9:30 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 9:45 AM

Location

Markstein 209

Session

oral 1

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

education

Abstract

Philosophy programs across the country have long claimed that their programs will aid students in the development of healthy, productive mental patterns–– i.e., most programs claim that they can help students foster their critical thinking abilities. Furthermore, producing students who are able to think critically is a common goal among educators, regardless of discipline or student age. If critical thinking is a goal of education, it seems necessary to know which sorts of learning experiences help students to think critically. My research is therefore important in that it seeks to examine the claims of philosophy departments and aid educators in their efforts to help students foster their critical thinking abilities. Dr. Collins runs the SoCal Philosophy Academy, a yearly summer program wherein pre-college students from all over the area are invited onto campus for a week of introductory philosophy education. This year, 55 students were in attendance. We administered two critical thinking skills tests to all of the students in order to gauge whether or not the program led to any changes in their critical thinking abilities. We gave students two versions of the 40-question Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Skills Test in the form of a pre-test (one before the academy) and a post-test (one following the academy). The Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Skills Test tests students in three abilities: argument evaluation, assumption recognition, and conclusion drawing. Currently, our sample size is 27. While the 27 students averaged 19.7 points on the pre-test, they shot up to 21.8 points on the post-test. Scores were, on average, 2.1 points higher on the post-test. In terms of specific abilities, students improved 0.7 points on assumption recognition and 3 points on argument evaluation. They lost 1.6 points on conclusion drawing. For the 2.1 point increase, our p-value is 0.07. We hope to improve the sample size over the next few months in order to reach statistical significance.

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Nov 23rd, 9:30 AM Nov 23rd, 9:45 AM

The Effects of Introductory Philosophy Education on the Critical Thinking Skills of Pre-College Students

Markstein 209

Philosophy programs across the country have long claimed that their programs will aid students in the development of healthy, productive mental patterns–– i.e., most programs claim that they can help students foster their critical thinking abilities. Furthermore, producing students who are able to think critically is a common goal among educators, regardless of discipline or student age. If critical thinking is a goal of education, it seems necessary to know which sorts of learning experiences help students to think critically. My research is therefore important in that it seeks to examine the claims of philosophy departments and aid educators in their efforts to help students foster their critical thinking abilities. Dr. Collins runs the SoCal Philosophy Academy, a yearly summer program wherein pre-college students from all over the area are invited onto campus for a week of introductory philosophy education. This year, 55 students were in attendance. We administered two critical thinking skills tests to all of the students in order to gauge whether or not the program led to any changes in their critical thinking abilities. We gave students two versions of the 40-question Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Skills Test in the form of a pre-test (one before the academy) and a post-test (one following the academy). The Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Skills Test tests students in three abilities: argument evaluation, assumption recognition, and conclusion drawing. Currently, our sample size is 27. While the 27 students averaged 19.7 points on the pre-test, they shot up to 21.8 points on the post-test. Scores were, on average, 2.1 points higher on the post-test. In terms of specific abilities, students improved 0.7 points on assumption recognition and 3 points on argument evaluation. They lost 1.6 points on conclusion drawing. For the 2.1 point increase, our p-value is 0.07. We hope to improve the sample size over the next few months in order to reach statistical significance.