Critical Thinking Instruction in Missouri Schools: Perceptions of Public School Principals


Marcia Blaine

Date of Graduation

Spring 1990


Master of Science in Education in Elementary Education


Childhood Education and Family Studies

Committee Chair

Darrell Roubinek


This study had four objectives. The first objective was to investigate principals' views of the importance of emphasizing critical thinking in the curriculum. The second objective was to determine if principals believe critical thinking skills are included in the basic skills approach to education in Missouri. The third objective was to determine principals' views on the adequacy of critical thinking instruction in their schools. The fourth objective was to explore principals' views of possible reasons for the lack of critical thinking programs in Missouri schools. Views among principals of elementary, junior high, and high schools were compared as well as views among principals from large school districts and small school districts using chi-square statistics. Data was gathered by means of a questionnaire returned by 143 Missouri principals. Several conclusions drawn from the study were: (a) most principals believe that the teaching of critical thinking should be emphasized and should be integrated into existing school subjects; (b) most principals were undecided as to whether critical thinking skills were included in Missouri's Core Competencies/Key Skills; (c) principals tended to be undecided about the adequacy of critical thinking instruction in their schools; and (d) most principals thought that cost, acquisition of resource people for in-service, additional instructional time, and evaluation of critical thinking were important reasons for the lack of critical thinking programs being implemented. They did not believe teacher attitude or administrative/school board support to be important factors.

Subject Categories

Elementary Education and Teaching


© Marcia Blaine