EXAMINING SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS’ APPLICATION OF DECISION RULES THROUGH PROCESS TRACING METHODS

Y. İltüzer, Y. Demiraslan Çevik

Hacettepe University (TURKEY)
This study aims at examining students’ competence in applying decision rules, which is the fundamental component of decision making skill. The participants included 11 (7 girls, 4 boys) sixth grade students in a secondary school in Ankara-Turkey. Data were collected during the 2015 spring semester. Questionnaires and think aloud method were used to collect data. The decision tasks that were used to examine how students used decision rules were taken from the Applying Decision Rules subtest of Preadolescent Decision Making Competence test developed by Weller, Levin, Rose and Bossard (2012) to measure children’s decision making skills. There were a total of 6 decision tasks each requiring the use of a specific decision rule. An online environment was created to present decision tasks to the students. Each student completed the tasks individually in a computer lab environment and their online behaviors were recorded via a screen capture program. The students were asked to think aloud as they solved each decision task. After each decision task, students responded to three questions (regarding how difficult was the task, how confident they were about their decision, and how adequate were the instructions presented in the tasks) in a 7-point likert scale. A rubric was developed in order to analyze the extent to which students correctly applied the decision rules. The max point students could get from the rubric was 4. Think-aloud data were first transcribed and then analyzed via content analysis by the researchers. The results indicated that almost all students had problems in correctly applying the decision rules when solving the decision tasks. Results also indicated that nearly all students were confident in their decision and found the instructions in the questions as adequate in order to be able to complete the decision tasks. The study concluded with a set of recommendations on how to help students improve on applying decision rules.