Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Seokhee Cho

Second Advisor

James R Campbell

Third Advisor

Robert Teseo


This research project has been formulated as a thematic, deductive, qualitative study to investigate teachers’ perceptions of the creative problem-solving ability (CPSA) dynamic system model(Cho, 1999, 2003) in determining problem-solving ability in mathematics (CPSAM). In the dynamic system model, Cho proposed that six attributes, namely convergent thinking, divergent thinking, motivation, knowledge and skills, and environment, are essential for creative problem-solving ability. Two quantitative studies, Lin and Cho (2011) and Teseo (2018) examined the six attributes of the dynamic system model as predictors for problem-solving ability in mathematics. To understand the teachers’ perceptions of the application of the CPSA attributes in the dynamic system model to students’ CPSAM, in the present qualitative study, I focused on the teachers’ assessment of the model. The teachers had to formulate their responses to six open-ended research questions to address the inquiry of the suitability of the dynamic system model in determining the creative problem-solving ability in mathematics for ethnic minority high school students. They were also invited to express their opinion on whether the six attributes could be placed in a hierarchical order of importance or the attributes formed a coherent integral unit. Finally, the participants were invited to provide their own model in place of the dynamic system model. Teachers were purposefully sampled and invited and the final pool comprised instructors who offer AP and other higher order courses from three different disciplines. The data were collected as semi structured email interviews and also as limited telephone and face-to-face interviews. The information extracted from the interviews were allocated to prior themes to determine the perceptions expressed by the teachers. The thematic qualitative analysis method was undertaken in this study. Overall, 25 teachers responded to the invitation, and the sample included all the disciplines attempted for inclusion. There was a unanimous acceptance of the dynamic system model. In fact, 80% of the teachers expressed a hierarchical preference by placing the environmental attribute at the top of the list, followed by prior knowledge and motivation, and from these attributes they believed a nurtured ability for divergent thinking would evolve. None of the participants gave any credence to convergent thinking as playing a role in CPSAM. It became evident from the teachers’ perceptions that they thought the environment played a major role in developing creativity. Specifically, parental involvement, school climate, and their own contributions formulated pedagogies that nurture and promote creative thinking in their classes.

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