DEVELOPING THE CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS OF INTERMEDIATE AGE EDUCABLE MENTALLY RETARDED STUDENTS

JEANNE BARATZ GOLD, Fordham University

Abstract

The major purposes of the study were (1) to determine whether the creative problem solving skills of educable mentally retarded students could be increased through the use of a systematic, supplementary program designed to increase their creative problem solving skills, and (2) to investigate the relationship between the creative thinking skills of fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration as measured by the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking, and IQ, age, and sex for this population of students.^ Procedures. The study was conducted in 6 elementary schools in the New York City school system from October 1978 through June 1979. A total of 120 students in classes for intermediate age educable mentally retarded students from 6 public school special classes were selected. Sixty students from 3 of the schools were designated as the experimental group, while the remaining 60 students from the other 3 were placed in the control group. One verbal (Product Improvement) and one nonverbal (Lines) subtest from Form A of the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking were used for pre-testing both groups. All tests were administered individually. Initial analyses indicated that no significant differences existed between groups on the pretest scores.^ The training program for the experimental group consisted of 9 lessons taught to 10 groups of 6 students each at the rate of one lesson per week. Each lesson took approximately 45 minutes and was administered in a free room in the school. The instructional materials were an adaptation of the Productive Thinking Program. Nine of the 16 lessons were selected. Changes in the presentation of the materials were made in order to lessen the bulk of the written materials presented to the students and to focus on the training of skills. This included presenting in written form to the students materials relating only to the problem he or she was asked to solve. Direct, didactic instruction in the skills of the creative problem solving were presented orally by the experimenter. The control group received no special instruction during this period. Post-testing of both groups was then performed utilizing the Circles subtest and the Product Improvement test from Form B of the TTCT. Approximately 4 weeks later a measure of retention was obtained.^ Each subtest was scored for the measures of fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration according to the guidelines developed by Torrance. Interjudge reliability estimates (two judges) were computed to be .98 and .97 for fluency and flexibility scores, respectively.^ Results. In order to test for the significance of the differences between groups, analyses of covariance with repeated measures were computed using IQ as the covariate for each of the creativity measures. The findings included: (1) The experimental group significantly outperformed the control group for the measures of fluency, flexibility, and originality for both figural and verbal subtests on both the post- and retention testings. (2) Highest intercorrelations among creative thinking measures were among fluency, flexibility, and originality. (3) Moderate to low correlations were obtained among different fluency scores, among flexibility scores, and among originality scores. (4) The variables of sex, age, and elaboration were not found to relate substantially to the other creativity scores. (5) IQ was found to be significantly related to several of the measures. The magnitudes of these correlations were quite similar and generally in the low range.^ Conclusions. The conclusions drawn from the results of this study were: (1) The measures of fluency, flexibility, and originality are the most useful to assess creative thinking. (2) Special attention to creative thinking training for educable mentally retarded children may be quite effective, with the results of such attention demonstrating some stability over time. ^

Subject Area

Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

GOLD, JEANNE BARATZ, "DEVELOPING THE CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS OF INTERMEDIATE AGE EDUCABLE MENTALLY RETARDED STUDENTS" (1981). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8109076.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8109076

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