PREDICTION OF DIVERGENT THINKING AND PROBLEM SOLVING FROM RATINGS OF BEHAVIORAL CHARACTERISTICS

DENNIS JOSEPH SHANING, Fordham University

Abstract

In this study, a rationale was presented which supported the need to examine the effectiveness of multiple criteria in identifying creative thinking and problem-solving skills of students. It was argued that past research has not resulted in the development of an identification procedure or measurement instrument which has proven to be an effective and valid means of assessing students' divergent thinking abilities. Previous research was reviewed and characterized as being primarily concerned with studies of the creative person, the creative process, the creative product, and the creative environment. In addition to recognizing the fact that the area of creative thinking and problem solving is plagued by controversy, it was also noted that researchers could not agree on a method of assessing these skills. In particular, the need to study the effectiveness of teacher ratings for predicting divergent thinking and problem-solving ability was emphasized. It was argued that assessment of creative thinking must include behavioral characteristics as well as scores on pencil-and-paper measurement instruments.^ The study focused on the effectiveness of the Scale for Rating the Behavioral Characteristics of Superior Students (SRBCSS) in guiding teacher ratings and predicting divergent thinking and problem-solving ability. Subjects for the present study were 382 fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-grade students. To assess divergent thinking, six exercises fashioned after the Guilford tasks were used: two expressional fluency tasks, two alternate uses tasks, and two plot titles tasks. To measure problem solving, three verbal maze problems were administered. Standardized reading and math achievement test scores were obtained from the Metropolitan Achievement Test, and IQ scores were obtained from the Otis-Lennon Mental Abilities Test. The data were analyzed using a stepwise multiple regression analysis.^ The results of the study reaffirmed the importance of the teacher's role in identifying creative thinking and problem-solving ability. Not only did the teacher ratings add significantly to the prediction equation, but in some instances, they accounted for more variance than IQ. The data indicate that achievement was the single best predictor for both fluency and problem-solving scores. Reading achievement was the single best predictor for fluency scores and math achievement was the single best predictor for problem-solving scores. The data clearly show that the prediction of divergent thinking and problem solving can be enhanced by the use of teacher ratings. The results, however, do not support the use of teacher ratings alone but provide a strong argument for the utility of teacher ratings in conjunction with other measures. ^

Subject Area

Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

SHANING, DENNIS JOSEPH, "PREDICTION OF DIVERGENT THINKING AND PROBLEM SOLVING FROM RATINGS OF BEHAVIORAL CHARACTERISTICS" (1981). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8120075.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8120075

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