Using children's literature to teach critical and creative thinking 1990.


Nancy Raynor

Date of Award


Document Type

Access Controlled Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Young adults are required very early in life to make important decisions. Should I go to college? What type of job should I look for? Where should I live? Has the American educational system prepared individuals to make such responsible, educated decisions?

The evidence suggests that many young adults are not prepared to face such real-life decisions and problems. Students are graduating from high school who cannot read or write satisfactorily. Many college freshman [sic] are required or find it necessary to take basic reading and writing composition classes before they even begin college level courses. Parents and educators are becoming increasingly worried about low achievement scores and the report A Nation At Risk has alarmed and shocked many others.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress found that few students are able to satisfactorily defend their views or elaborate on ideas. The percentage of students achieving higher-order thinking skills (analyzing, comparing, inferring/interpreting and evaluating) in all broad areas of learning declined during the 1970's. According to this report,

"during the period between 1974 and 1979, only 21% and 19%, respectively, of students in the United States were able to write an acceptable persuasive essay. The major difficulty is that students are not proficient in providing support for their beliefs. Many students make assertions and unwarranted generalizations without providing reasons and examples to illustrate their points".1

It is doubtful that these percentages have risen dramatically over the past ten years.

The NAEP, concerned about the poor performance on these skills, is attempting to develop assessment procedures for monitoring changes in students' thinking over an extended period of time.


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