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Pupils’ Thinking Skills Development across Grade 4 - 6: An Investigation of 2096 Pupils in Mainland China Based on APTS

DOI: 10.4236/ce.2017.89102, PP. 1452-1470

Keywords: Thinking Skills, Pupils, Assessment, APTS, Differentiation

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A variety of thinking skills interventions have been implemented in schools and relative assessments emerged. However, due to inconsistencies of assessment techniques and lack of norms from large-scale samples, it remains problematic to compare the effects of various thinking interventions in general. This study aimed to investigate the current situation of thinking skills of 2096 pupils in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade from six primary schools located in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Xi’an respectively. The “Assessment of Pupils’ Thinking Skills (APTS)” measure developed by Burke and Williams (2012) was translated into Chinese and used as the instrument. Results demonstrated that there were significant improvements in the pupils’ overall thinking skills from 4th to 5th grade and from 5th to 6th grade as well. However, the pupils’ metacognitive reflection did not improve significantly from 4th grade to 5th grade while they increased dramatically from 5th to 6th grade. The pupils’ definition of thinking skills and application of some thinking skills (i.e., Grouping, Finding Reasons and Conclusions, Decision Making and Problem Solving) showed the same trends as metacognitive reflection. Differentiations in thinking skills development were found when compared among schools. Reasons for these differentiations and implications for teaching thinking in primary schools were discussed.


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