Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

First Advisor

Bruce W. Boyles

Abstract

This dissertation employed a mixed-methods design to ascertain the perceptions of elementary schoolteachers in relation to the impact the Common Core State Standards had on their students' abilities to think critically. The participants were teachers from three schools within the same district in western North Carolina. Quantitative data were collected via a 5-point Likert scale survey distributed via Survey Monkey. Qualitative data were collected via open-ended questions and focus group interviews. The data were collected to answer the research question, "What is the impact of the Common Core State Standards on the critical thinking abilities of students?" The researcher designed the survey around the characteristics of a critical thinker developed by Dr. Robert Ennis. Focus group questions were developed following an analysis of survey and open-ended responses. Data analysis entailed applying the chi square goodness of fit test, determining cumulative percentages and mean responses, as well as coding for themes based on a researcher-created strength code. The researcher found participants in this study believed the Common Core State Standards had a positive impact on their students' abilities to think critically. Recommendations for future research include conducting a study after the standards have been in place for a longer period of time. Additionally, research involving teachers at the secondary level and from varying districts and states would add to the body of knowledge related to the Common Core State Standards and critical thinking.

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