School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Katie Thompson


Critical Thinking, Cooperative Learning, Collaborative Scripts, Peer Discourse


Curriculum and Instruction | Education


A drastic growth of scientific and technological advancements in the 21st century have allowed for new jobs with innovative processes that require individuals who possess the ability to think deductively, reason through problems, and obtain information that can support the potential solutions to these problems. Many of the technological advancements have reduced the necessity to only memorize rote facts; rather, much of this information can be found through a quick internet search. What is needed, therefore, is education which requires students to think deeper than before – to examine new information through a more critical lens. The purpose of this research study is to investigate how the introduction of collaborative scripts into the cooperative learning of students in a secondary science classroom impacts critical thinking skills. A quasi-experimental non-equivalent control-group design was implemented. The sample was drawn from eight sections of ninth grade science at a secondary public school in a northeastern state. Students engaged in project-based learning with cooperation with peers on an inquiry-based science lesson with phenomena. The experimental group was presented with scripts to begin asking thoughtful questions of peers about the phenomena being studied. The control group was instructed to engage in peer discourse as they normally would. The CCT-X was administered to all participants as a pretest and posttest. The data was analyzed via ANCOVA testing. Although a greater improvement in scores can be seen in the group that was exposed to the cooperative scripts, the results were not statistically significant. Future recommendations were identified, such as recruiting a larger sample size, implementing a longer duration for the intervention of collaborative scripts, and considering a new instrument for measuring critical thinking skills.