1997 OPEN FORUM Abstracts
A COMPARISON OF RESPIRATORY THERAPY STUDENTS' CRITICAL THINKING ABILITIES WITH PERFORMANCE ON THE CLINICAL SIMULATION EXAMINATIONS.
Shelley C. Mishoe, PhD, RRT, Franklin H. Dennison, MEd, RRT, RPFT, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA and Lynda Thomas-Goodfellow MBA, RRT, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA.
Introduction: The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between students' critical thinking abilities as measured by the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal (WGCTA) with performance on the Clinical Simulation Self Assessment Exams from the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC). We also examined performance on these tests with students' grade point average (GPA). The WGCTA has been used in hundreds of research studies and is considered to be the best single measure of critical thinking. The WGCTA assesses the abilities to define the problem, select information for problem solution, recognize stated and unstated assumptions, formulate or select promising hypotheses, and draw valid conclusions. The Clinical Simulation Exams (CSE) from the NBRC are considered by experts in philosophy\social sciences to be one of the few domain-specific instruments for assessment of critical thinking. Methodology: We administered the WGCTA and the CSE Self-Assessment Form II to 60 students between 1993-1996, prior to graduation from our BS Program in Respiratory Therapy. We compared WGCTA scores with the information gathering (IG) and decision making (DM) scores on the CSE. The WGCTA is available in form A and form B as an 80 item test with five subsets on inference, recognition of assumptions, deduction, interpretation, and evaluation of arguments. The instrument has established criterion and construct validity (r=0.55 to 0.75), internal consistency (r=0.83), stability of scores over time (r=0.73), and correlation between scores of alternate forms (r=0.73). Participation in this research study was voluntary as approved by our Internal Review Board. Program faculty did not know students' scores and were blinded from the study. Data were analyzed using repeated measures ANOVA and Correlation Coefficients, with level of significance set at 0.05. Findings: We found a significant correlation (r=0.34) between WGCTA (59±7.2) and DM scores (66±15). We also found that GPA (3.40±.43) was significantly related to WGCTA (r=0.45) and DM (r=0.43). These findings are meaningful since we compared data obtained under various testing formats and testing conditions. Conclusions: We conclude that the WGCTA, a valid measure of general CT abilities, relates to GPA and DM. We concur that the CSE measures domain-specific aspects of CT. Students with a higher GPA and greater CT abilities can be expected to perform better on the CSE.