Conditional reasoning in Jamaica

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The results of studies that examined the logical reasoning of secondary school students in Jamaica are analysed. A logical reasoning test was administered to 205 Jamaican students in grades 7, 9, and 11. Also analysed were data collected using the same instrument on three other groups of Jamaican students in grades 7, 8, 9, and 10. As expected, test performance was not very good. Students did not show improvement in logical reasoning from grade to grade. No significant sex differences were found in overall reasoning ability. Nor were correlations found between reasoning ability and academic achievement. However, clear differences were found between educational strata within the school, for example, science was found to encourage a critical spirit. The Jamaican students scored much lower than a group of US students taking the same test. Reasons for the noticeable differences in level of performance may be due to a number of factors, including lack of resources in Jamaican schools, and the inadequate knowledge and skills of many teachers, especially at the elementary level. Some important facts that teachers need to be taught about logical reasoning are suggested


Harvard International Conference on Thinking, Cambridge, MA, 19-23 Aug., 1984
Harvard University

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