FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCES IN REASONING AMONG STUDENTS OF LOWER AND HIGHER SECONDARY SCHOOLS
J. E. Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem (CZECH REPUBLIC)
About this paper:
Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:The aim of the research described in this article was to verify whether the pupils of elementary schools in the Czech Republic are capable of the same logical reasoning based on work with basic logical operators as high school students in the same country.
Based on Machová’s statement (2008) that analytic and synthetic skills, the ability of abstraction and logical thinking of pupils older than 12 years are already so mature that they are basically no different from adults’ skills and reasoning it is possible to believe that the performance of both groups in work with basic logical operators or in abstraction will be the same.
During this research the elementary schools pupils were divided into only three groups (seventh to ninth grade) and high schools students into only two groups (third and fourth year). The age groups were not further differentiated because if the variable age had more values (for instance, from 10 to 18) then due to the interaction with other factors (gender, type of the school, school evaluation, etc.), the size of the selected sample would grow disproportionately. Therefore, it was necessary to limit it to the abovementioned two categories.
A total of 429 respondents participated in the research. 207 were from elementary schools and 222 from high schools. Another 290 respondents participated in the pilot testing that was necessary to design a research tool. In addition to judgements that pupils and students normally use (basic properties of negation, conjunction, disjunction, implication and general quantifier) De Morgan’s laws and more complex judgements such as, for instance, modified sentence etc. were also used.
It is shown that in some types of judgements lower secondary school pupils are even more successful than higher secondary pupils and vice versa. Significant differences are shown between students of grammar schools and pupils of elementary schools or other types of high schools than grammar schools. The differences here were proved to be on one percent level of significance. Significant differences occur not only in the ability to work with logical operators but also in areas involving an individual’s ability to use abstraction.
Keywords: Reasoning, thinking, logic, logical thinking.