ORCID

http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2140-8585

Date of Award

2021

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Education (Ph.D)

Department

Education Specialties

First Advisor

Seokhee Cho

Second Advisor

Rosalba Del Vecchio

Third Advisor

James Campbell

Abstract

The purpose of this non-experimental research study was three-fold: (1) to investigate the relationships among the attributes of creative problem solving ability (divergent thinking, convergent thinking, motivation, general knowledge and skills, and environment) and their relationships in the humanities (specifically those that took enrichment classes in that area), (2) to explore if there were group differences in Creative Problem Solving (CPS) attributes between students that had a high or low perception of class activities as measured by the My Class Activities (MCA) survey, and (3) to explore whether specific components of learning environment were impacted by certain enrichment classes. The CPSAI (Creative Problem Solving Attributes Inventory) and the MCA (My Class Activities) were administered to 114 students in grades six through eight at a suburban New York middle school on Long Island. The groups were subdivided by the total number of social science courses taken, those that participated in a humanities based enrichment class (rhetoric and debate or Model UN), high and low perceptions of class activities, and achievement in social studies classes as measured by their final grade for the year. Results supported that social science elective classes had a statistically significantly positive effect on student perception of their own CPS attributes, and classroom learning environment was a significant aspect of student perception of their CPS attributes, accounting for 29% of the variance.

This study added to the body of quantitative research regarding creative problem-solving in the social sciences. It supported the validity of the CPSAI and its use in the social sciences and mathematics. Most importantly, it informed teachers of the importance of designing classroom learning environments that supported critical thinking and creative problem-solving while being appropriately challenging.

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