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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Marilyn Draheim

First Committee Member

Fred Muskal

Second Committee Member

Rachelle Hackett

Third Committee Member

Mari Irvin

Fourth Committee Member

Herb Reinel


The purpose of this study was to examine two required, interdisciplinary, general education courses at University of the Pacific. The curriculum was composed of classical and timely questions and issues. The study examined the thinking and writing skills of the students for the purpose of improvement through program assessment. The program goals, including activities assumed to lead to their attainment, not only played a dominant role in instrument development, but were also formatively assessed. A survey was designed in relation to program goals. Pretesting and posttesting for change in thinking and writing skills utilized holistic assessment via a set of writing criteria and a set of thinking criteria related to program goals. Periodic focus groups during the first academic year, and retrospective individual interviews during the sophomore year, were derived from sets of questions convergent with the focus on program goals. The qualitative and quantitative data were triangulated and analyzed through the lens of the Perry Scheme of Intellectual and Ethical Development. The study addressed four research questions. The results of the study indicated complex issues and perceptions were related to the diverse nature of the two courses, as well as a dominant multiplistic, intellectual stage through which students were progressing. Certain types of students were enabled to meet relevant program goals in relation to their individual, intellectual stage. While this study focused on one university and two courses within its particular general education program, findings in an assessment of this type are limited to similar types of institutions with similar programs.




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