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Relationships among bilingualism, critical thinking ability, and critical thinking disposition of baccalaureate nursing students
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Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1996.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 110-116).
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by Raymond T. Albert.
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Vita.

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RELATIONSHIPS AMONG BILINGUALISM,
CRITICAL THINKING ABILITY,
AND CRITICAL THINKING DISPOSITION
OF BACCALAUREATE NURSING STUDENTS














By

RAYMOND T. ALBERT


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA































Copyright 1996

by

Raymond T. Albert



























This dissertation is

dedicated to my parents,

Femand and Rita Albert,

my wife, Rachel Albert,

and my children,

whose love and support

made it possible.













ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Many people, including family and friends, have provided encouragement and

support that enabled me to complete this dissertation. I extend my deepest gratitude to

all of them. I wish to especially thank those directly involved in the completion of the

study.

Each member of the supervisory committee has helped in his own way. I am

grateful to Dr. M. David Miller for his scholarship and quantitative analysis expertise,

Dr. Jeffry A. Hurt for his rigorous attention to academic standards, Dr. C. Arthur

Sandeen for his thoughtful words and genuine interest, and Dr. Craig L. Frisby for his

scholarship and literary research wisdom.

I wish to express a very special word of appreciation to Dr. Lee J. Mullally,

supervising professor of this dissertation. His assistance throughout the doctoral

program significantly contributed to the completion of this very real academic goal.

I am also very grateful to each of the students who participated in the study as

well as for the assistance and encouragement received from study site administrators

Penny Ericson, Michelle Trudeau, France Marquis and Vincent Pelletier.

Finally, I particularly want to thank my parents, wife and children. Their

sacrifice and support throughout my life made it possible for me to achieve this goal.














TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ....................................... iv

LIST OF TABLES ............................................. vii

LIST OF FIGURES ............................................ viii

ABSTRACT ................................................. ix

CHAPTERS

1 INTRODUCTION .......................................... 1

Statement of the Problem ................................. 2
Need for the Study ................................. ....... 4
Theoretical Basis ...................................... ... 9
Research Questions ................................ ...... .. 11
A ssum options .................. ................ ..... .... 12
Definition of Terms ...................................... 12
Summary ........................... .................... 14

2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE .............................. 15

Introduction .. ............. ......... ..... .. ...... 15
Cognitive Functioning in Bilinguals ............................ 15
Bilingualism and Critical Thinking Ability ..................... 21
Bilingualism and Critical Thinking Disposition .................. 25
Language Interdependence in Bilinguals ......................... 28
Critical Thinking Ability and Disposition in Nursing Students ....... ... 32
Thought and Language ..................................... 35
Threshold Hypothesis ...................................... 37
Summary ...................................... ......... 40








3 DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY .............................. 42

Introduction ................... .......................... 42
Study Design and Procedures ................................. 42
Population and Sample ..................................... 44
Instrumentation .......................................... 45
Data Collection .......................................... 56
Data Analysis ......................................... 57
Sum m ary ............................................... 59

4 FIN INNGS .............................................. 60

Introduction .............. .... .......................... 60
Setting and Subjects ................. ...................... 61
Demographic Characteristics of Sample ......................... 61
Subject Performance on Research Instruments ................... 63
Analysis of Data ............................... ......... 64
Tests of Hypotheses ....................................... 66
Summary ............................................... 73

5 SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION ............................... 74

O verview ........................................ .... 74
Summary of Research Problem and Method ...................... 74
Interpretation of Results ................................... 77
Lim stations of Study ...................................... 86
Implications for the Field of Education .......................... 88
Recommendations for Further Research ......................... 92

APPENDICES

1 DEMOGRAPHIC DATA QUESTIONNAIRE ..................... 96

2 C-TEST English Version .................................... 99

3 C-TEST French Version ................................... 104

4 REQUEST FOR STUDY RESULTS .......................... 109

REFERENCES ................................. ........... 110

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ..................................... 117














LIST OF TABLES


Table page

1 Frequency Distribution of Sample by School ...................... 61

2 Frequency Distribution of Sample by Gender ...................... 62

3 Demographic Characteristics of Sample ....... .................. 63

4 Subject Performance on Test Instruments .......... .............. 65

5 Statistical Tests of Hypotheses ................................ 71













LIST OF FIGURES


Figure page

1 Cummins' (1981) linguistic interdependence model ................. 30

2 Cognitive effects of different types of bilingualism .................. 39

3 Relationship between bilingualism and critical thinking disposition predicted by
Diaz's (1985) new threshold hypothesis. ........................ 82

4 Relationship between bilingualism and critical thinking disposition as predicted
by findings of present study. ................................. 83













Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

RELATIONSHIPS AMONG BILINGUALISM,
CRITICAL THINKING ABILITY,
AND CRITICAL THINKING DISPOSITION
OF BACCALAUREATE NURSING STUDENTS


By

Raymond T. Albert

December 1996

Chairman: Dr. Lee J. Mullally
Major Department: Instruction and Curriculum

Evidence exists supporting relationships between bilingualism and many

cognitive factors. Evidence also exists supporting the importance of critical thinking

ability and critical thinking disposition as essential characteristics of practicing

professional nurses. Research, however, has heretofore not been conducted to

specifically examine the relationships among bilingualism, critical thinking ability, and

critical thinking disposition of baccalaureate nursing students.

This cross-sectional study employed a pooled within bilingual correlational

design to examine such relationships. Specific research questions posed were as

follows: (1) Is there a statistically significant curvilinear relationship between

bilingualism and critical thinking ability? (2) Is there a statistically significant








curvilinear relationship between bilingualism and critical thinking disposition? (3) Is

there a statistically significant relationship between critical thinking disposition and

critical thinking ability?

The sample consisted of 111 nursing students enrolled in four baccalaureate

nursing programs serving populations characterized by varying degrees of bilingualism.

Subjects were administered an investigator designed demographic data instrument, a

French language C-Test, an English language C-Test, as well as the California Critical

Thinking Skills Test, and the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory.

Multiple regression analysis was employed to test the hypotheses corresponding

to the existence of relationships among the three constructs. Findings failed to provide

sufficient evidence to support the existence of a relationship between either

bilingualism and critical thinking ability, or between critical thinking disposition and

critical thinking ability. The findings did provide sufficient evidence to support the

existence of a curvilinear relationship between bilingualism and critical thinking

disposition which supports Cummins' threshold hypothesis.

This study's findings suggest that a better understanding of the relationships

among bilingualism, critical thinking ability, and critical thinking disposition leads to a

better understanding of the learner. Through an improved understanding of the learner

more effective instruction may be designed.

The need was identified for further research to explore the nature of the

relationships particularly across populations characterized by varying degrees of age,

academic preparation, socio-cultural background, and bilingual proficiency in different







language combinations. Further studies may explore how such relationships influence

instructional effectiveness particularly of critical thinking instruction.













CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

The goal of the study was to determine if relationships exist among

bilingualism, critical thinking ability, and critical thinking disposition of baccalaureate

nursing students. Based upon both theory and empirical research findings it was

expected that positive relationships were to be uncovered between bilingualism and

critical thinking ability, between bilingualism and critical thinking disposition, and

between critical thinking disposition and critical thinking ability. The study's findings

have theoretical application by supporting Cummins' (1979a) threshold hypothesis as

well as the theory of the relationship between language and thought posited by Whorf

(1956). The primary focus of the present study, however, was testing Cummins'

(1979a) threshold hypothesis in a new situation. In addition, the present study's

findings have practical application by suggesting that a better understanding of the

relationships among bilingualism, critical thinking ability, and critical thinking

disposition leads to a better understanding of the learner. Through an improved

understanding of the learner more effective instruction, curricula, and accreditation

criteria may be designed.










Statement of the Problem

This study examined bilingualism, critical thinking ability, and critical thinking

disposition of baccalaureate nursing students. The problem this study addressed was

the determination of the existence of relationships among these three constructs.

Although studies which were conducted during the first half of this century to

examine the relationship between bilingualism and general intelligence yielded

contradictory findings, numerous methodological weaknesses of the studies have

subsequently been identified as contributing greatly to the lack of consensus on the

cognitive effects of bilingualism. Following the lead established by a landmark study

conducted by Peal and Lambert (1962), studies have since been better designed and as

a result have more consistently yielded evidence in support of numerous cognitive

advantages being associated with bilingualism. Bilingualism has been shown through

numerous research studies to be related to cognitive factors which have in turn been

shown to correlate with intelligence (e.g., divergent thinking skill, field independence,

concept formation, cognitive flexibility) (Bain, 1974; Balkan, 1970; Ben-Zeev, 1977;

Carringer, 1974; Cummins, 1978; Duncan & DeAvila, 1979; Feldman & Shen, 1971;

Gunning, 1981; lanco-Worrall, 1972; Landry, 1974; Liedtke & Nelson, 1968; Peal &

Lambert, 1962; Torrance, Gowan, Wu, & Aliotti, 1970;).

Although the relationships among bilingualism, critical thinking ability, and

critical thinking disposition have yet to be fully elucidated, a substantial case can be

built in support of the existence of such relationships. A consensus as to the

conceptualization of critical thinking ability and critical thinking disposition has only









recently been achieved (Facione, 1990), and as a result the potential for uncovering

such relationships has only recently reached an adequate level. The critical thinking

construct is quite complex, and one's ability to think critically can be viewed as being

dependent upon many of the same factors that have been shown to be positively

correlated with bilingualism. Evidence in support of the existence of relationships

among bilingualism, critical thinking ability, and critical thinking disposition has

therefore often been based indirectly on constructs which have heretofore received

greater attention (e.g., intelligence).

In perhaps one of the most influential earlier works on critical thinking ability,

Watson and Glaser (1980) reported the correlation between the relatively widely used

Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal (WGCTA) and various intelligence

measures to be quite high (.55 to .75). They concluded that "a high level of

intelligence as measured by conventional tests may be necessary, but not sufficient, for

high attainment in critical thinking" (p. 10). Factor analytic studies of various critical

thinking measures have additionally shown the following four factors to be quite

pronounced; general reasoning ability, logical discrimination/application of logic

principles, semantics/verbal understanding (perhaps related to sophistication in

language use), and grade point average (Facione, 1990; Rust, Jones, & Kaiser 1962).

Thus, just as the relationship between bilingualism and many cognitive factors

associated with intelligence has been empirically established, so too has the

relationship between intelligence and critical thinking ability.










In summary, bilingualism has been empirically shown to be positively

correlated with numerous cognitive factors which have in turn have been linked to

critical thinking ability and disposition. Based on such emperical evidence, positive

relationships between bilingualism and critical thinking ability and between

bilingualism and critical thinking disposition were expected to be uncovered.

Additional theory-based support for the existence of such relationships can be found in

the theories of Whorf (1956) and Vygotsky (1934/1962) and most especially in

Cummins' (1979a) threshold hypothesis which forms the theoretical framework for the

study.



Need for the Study

Support for the theoretical as well as the practical significance of this study is

based upon numerous factors. The theoretical significance of the study is primarily

based on the role the findings play in supporting Cummins' (1979a) threshold

hypothesis. The study's theoretical significance is also based on the role the findings

play in supporting Whorfs (1956) and refuting Vygotsky's (1934/1962) theories of the

relationship between language and thought. The practical significance of the study,

while being of secondary interest, rests with future research efforts aimed at the

development of more specific baccalaureate nursing accreditation criteria, better

baccalaureate nursing curricula, and more effective baccalaureate nursing critical

thinking instruction.










In attempting to reconcile the contradictory findings produced by studies which

have attempted to examine the relationships among bilingualism and various cognitive

functioning factors, James Cummins (1976) theorized that positive cognitive effects--

believed to correspond to additive bilingualism-were only realizable once a person

had attained a certain threshold or minimal competence level of bilingual proficiency.

Cummins (1976) further theorized that prior to crossing the threshold the person is

unlikely to garner any of the positive cognitive effects (e.g., enhanced metalinguistic

awareness) shown by numerous studies to be related to bilingualism. Cummins

(1979a) later elaborated on his threshold hypothesis and argued that there also exists a

second, lower, threshold of bilingual proficiency which a person must attain in order

to avoid the negative cognitive effects (e.g., linguistic interference) shown by earlier

studies to be related to bilingualism. While such earlier studies tended to yield

findings which supported what was commonly referred to as a language handicap,

their basic research methodologies have since been shown to be replete with flaws.

Many prominent scholars have sought to reveal the more general relationship

between language and thought. Among them are Benjamin Whorf and Lev Vygotsky.

Whorf's (1956) theory of the relationship between language and thought, although not

well defined, has received a great deal of attention. Many have argued that Whorf's

notion of linguistic determinism can be viewed either as absolutely deterministic (i.e.,

language solely determines thought) or as a tendency (i.e., language contributes in

subtle ways to shaping thought). Although Whorf failed to be specific in describing

his theory of the relationship between language and thought, it has proven to be










exceedingly difficult to refute the possibility that one's thought processes have a

tendency to operate along language dependent lines and as such provide a wider range

of thought to the bilingual. Vygotsky (1934/1962), who was particularly interested in

the speech that children directed toward themselves when attempting to solve

problems, argued that a person's language eventually becomes a medium for

organizing thought and ordering the components of its abstract symbol system.

Vygotsky (1978) distinguished a special form of speech--which he referred to as

egocentric speech--from social speech which a child uses when communicating ideas.

Vygotsky argued that the bilingual should be more facile than the monolingual in

cognitive processing as a result of their superior command of language. Thus, as the

present study has a basis in theory similar to the theories posited by Whorf and

Vygotsky, its findings--in addition to providing support or opposition to Cummins'

(1979a) threshold hypothesis--undoubtedly also will lend support or opposition to the

respective theories of these two scholars.

The practical significance of the study, while being of secondary interest, rests

with the findings contributing to future research efforts. Future research efforts based

on the present study's findings will likely lead to a better understanding of the

cognitive and linguistic factors influencing the effectiveness of baccalaureate nursing

critical thinking instruction, curricula, and accreditation criteria. Research efforts

aimed at achieving a better understanding of the cognitive and linguistic factors

influencing such instruction and curricula will clearly benefit from a better

understanding of the relationships among bilingualism, critical thinking ability, and










critical thinking disposition. The significance of the study's practical contribution can

perhaps best be realized through an appreciation of the value our society has placed on

the ability to think critically. Since the early 1950s, proposals have offered to

establish critical thinking as a goal of education (Dressel, 1955; National Commission

on Excellence in Education, 1983; National Institute of Education, 1984; Newman,

1985). Many professional accrediting agencies, such as the National League for

Nursing (NLN), have followed suit and have specifically identified critical thinking

ability as an essential element of any program wishing to be accredited. Although the

NLN's accreditation criteria for critical thinking instruction are currently defined in

only very general terms, it is likely their definition will evolve to become more

specific. Enhanced criterion specificity will be made possible, in part, through a better

understanding of the relationships among bilingualism, critical thinking ability, and the

critical thinking disposition of baccalaureate nursing students. The enhancement of

accreditation criteria will likely contribute in turn to the development of better

baccalaureate nursing curricula.

Many education scholars have argued that instructional effectiveness may be

increased via a better understanding of the characteristics which each learner presents

to the instructional setting. Conversely, instructional effectiveness may diminish when

important learner characteristics are ignored by the instructional designer. According

to Mullally (1979), "In order to effectively design instruction and maximize learning,

educators should recognize and respect the learner as an individual. In addition to

analyzing student characteristics relating to academic or social factors, educators








8

should be determining how an individual seeks meaning" (p. 238). How an individual

seeks meaning is likely influenced by the culture in which the person has been brought

up. Whorf (1956), hypothesized that speakers of different languages have different

patterns of thought. Some have argued that it is possible to view the weak form of

Whorf's hypothesis as suggesting that ". the bilingual is a happy thinker. Any

given problem can be handled through two linguistic systems, and the languages can

be alternated in search of the one that would more efficiently guide thinking" (Hakuta,

1986, p. 77). In light of such a view, it is easier to imagine how attention to learner

characteristics as part of the instructional design process can dramatically influence the

effectiveness of critical thinking instruction.

Many educators today justifiably view with great skepticism the effectiveness of

critical thinking instruction. Follman (1987) argues that critical thinking is difficult to

teach. This difficulty is particularly evident when examining the effects of

contemporary critical thinking skills training programs originating between 1983 and

the present (Keller, 1993). Failure to consider essential learner characteristics may

have contributed to the mixed findings of many of the studies which have attempted to

determine the effectiveness of various forms of critical thinking instruction

incorporated into baccalaureate nursing curricula (Gross, Takazawa, & Rose, 1987;

Kintgen-Andrews, 1988). Thus, in conjunction with the present study's findings,

future research efforts will likely result in the establishment of more effective critical

thinking instruction and better baccalaureate nursing curricula.










Theoretical Basis

The earliest studies involving bilingualism tended to yield support to the notion

of bilingualism having a detrimental influence on numerous cognitive factors (Barke &

Perry-Williams, 1938; Carrow, 1957; Harris, 1948; Saer, 1923). Findings resulting

from more recent studies, however, have yielded support to the notion of bllir,,ujlh....

being associated with enhancements in such cognitive functioning factors as divergent

thinking skills (Carringer, 1974; Landry, 1974; Torrance, Gowan, Wu, & Aliotti,

1970), field independence (Duncan & DeAvila, 1979), concept formation (Bain, 1974;

Liedtke & Nelson, 1968), linguistic and metalinguistic awareness (Cummins, 1978;

Feldman & Shen, 1971; lanco-Worrall, 1972), and cognitive flexibility in terms of

both verbal and spatial ability tasks (Balkan, 1970; Ben-Zeev, 1977; Landry, 1974;

Peal & Lambert, 1962).

Cummins (1976), among others, recognized the contradiction between the

findings of earlier studies and those of later studies. In establishing a framework for

the interpretation of the seemingly inconsistent findings, Cummins (1976) reviewed the

relevant literature and attempted to isolate those factors which differentiated the two

types of studies. Upon completing his review, Cummins (1976) formulated the

following hypothesis:

There may be a threshold level of linguistic competence which a
bilingual child must attain both in order to avoid cognitive deficits and
allow the potentially beneficial aspects of becoming bilingual to influence
his cognitive functioning. (p. 3)

Further attempts to resolve the inconsistent findings of past studies combined

with the published research findings of Toukomaa and Skutnabb-Kangas (1977) and








10

others eventually led Cummins (1979a) to supplement the threshold hypothesis. Upon

establishing the existence of a second lower threshold of linguistic competence,

Cummins (1979a) restated the threshold hypothesis as follows:

The attainment of a lower threshold level of bilingual competence would
be sufficient to avoid any negative cognitive effects; but the attainment
of a second, higher, level of competence might be necessary to lead to
accelerated cognitive growth. (p. 230)

Cummins' (1979a) threshold hypothesis indicates two slope transition points in

the relationship between bilingualism and cognitive growth. The threshold hypothesis

made possible an explanation of the inconsistent findings by allowing one to argue

that studies reporting detrimental cognitive effects being associated with bilingualism

had probably involved subjects who had not attained the lower threshold of bilingual

competence. Similarly, the threshold hypothesis allowed one to argue that studies

reporting positive cognitive effects being associated with bilingualism had probably

involved subjects who had attained both the low and upper threshold levels of

competence. Overall, the establishment of Cummins' (1979a) threshold hypothesis

contributed greatly to an explanation of the inconsistent findings reported by past

studies.

In addition to the threshold hypothesis, Cummins (1979a) identified several

methodological factors which were believed to have further contributed to the

inconsistent findings. Included among the factors was the inability of researchers to

use random assignment to language development groups as a means of limiting the

confounding influence of uncontrolled group differences. In attempting to address the

methodological weaknesses associated with nonrandom assignment to language







11

development groups, Diaz (1985) operationalized bilingual proficiency as proficiency

in a second language, and called for the use of multiple regression analysis in the

determination of relationships among constructs. Instead of utilizing a between group

analysis design involving several different language proficiency groups, Diaz (1985)

utilized a within bilingual group analysis design which involved degree of second

language proficiency in a multiple regression analysis. In so doing, Diaz(1985)

addressed a significant methodological weakness suffered by past studies which is

believed to have contributed to their inconsistent findings.

This study tests Cummins' (1979a) threshold hypothesis in a new situation by

determining the existence of relationships among bilingualism, critical thinking ability,

and critical thinking disposition of baccalaureate nursing students. More specifically,

the present study tests Cummins' (1979a) threshold hypothesis through the

determination of the existence of curvilinear relationships between bilingualism and

critical thinking ability, and between bilingualism and critical thinking disposition of

baccalaureate nursing students.



Research Questions

To address the problem, the investigator proposed to find answers to the

following research questions:

1. Is there a statistically significant curvilinear relationship between

bilingualism and critical thinking ability?










2. Is there a statistically significant curvilinear relationship between

bilingualism and critical thinking disposition?

3. Is there a statistically significant relationship between critical thinking

disposition and critical thinking ability?



Assumptions

The following theoretical assumptions were made based upon Cummins' (1976)

threshold hypothesis:

1. Failure to resolve difficulties in coping with two languages over a

prolonged period of time can negatively influence an individual's rate of

cognitive development.

2. Once a certain level of competence in two languages has been attained,

bilingual cognitive functioning can be positively influenced by aspects

either of present access to two languages or bilingual learning

experiences.



Definition of Terms

For purposes of the study the following definitions were used:

Critical thinking ability is the ability to engage in "purposeful, self-regulatory

judgment which results in interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and inference, as well as

explanation of the evidential, conceptual, methodological, criteriological, or contextual

considerations upon which that judgment is based .. ." (Facione, 1990, p. 3). The









literature revealed considerable discussion and lack of agreement on the precise

conceptualization of critical thinking. After reviewing the work of most of the critical

thinking theorists, the investigator decided to utilize this consensus definition from

Facione's (1990) Delphi study. Critical thinking ability, as operationalized in the

study, was the score achieved on the California Critical Thinking Skills Test.

Critical thinking disposition is the tendency toward being ". habitually

inquisitive, well-informed, trustful of reason, open-minded, flexible, fair-minded in

evaluation, honest in facing personal biases, prudent in making judgments, willing to

reconsider, clear about issues, orderly in complex matters, diligent in seeking relevant

information, reasonable in the selection of criteria, focused in inquiry, and persistent in

seeking results which are as precise as the subject and the circumstances of inquiry

permit ." (Facione, 1990, p. 3). Critical thinking disposition, as operationalized in

the study, was the score achieved on the California Critical Thinking Disposition

Inventory.

Additive bilingualism refers to high levels of competence in both languages,

hypothesized to be associated with positive cognitive effects of bilingualism

(Cummins, 1979a).

Dominant bilingualism is native-like level of competence in one of the

languages, hypothesized to be associated with neither the positive or negative cognitive

effects of bilingualism (Cummins, 1979a).










Semilingualism refers to less than native-like level of competence in both

languages, hypothesized to be associated with the negative cognitive effects of

bilingualism (Cummins, 1979a).

Bilingual proficiency as operationalized in the study, was composed of C-Test

scores reflecting the degree of proficiency in each of the subjects' two languages (L,

and L2). L, represents the subjects' primary language C-Test score and L2 represents

the subjects' secondary language C-Test score. L2 was used to reflect the subjects'

degree of bilingual proficiency.



Summary

In summary, the investigator proposed to determine whether relationships exist

among bilingualism, critical thinking ability, and the critical thinking disposition of

baccalaureate nursing students. In leading to a better understanding of the

relationships among these constructs, the findings primarily contribute in a

theoretically significant way, by supporting the theories posited by Cummins (1976),

and Whorf (1956). The findings also contribute in a theoretically significant way by

refuting the theory posited by Vygotsky (1934/1962). In addition, the findings will

likely contribute to future research efforts. The extent to which the study's findings

contribute in significantly theoretical and practical ways is, of course, subject to the

assumptions, definitions, and limitations herein specified.













CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

Introduction

A brief discussion of several theories and numerous research findings that are

particularly relevant to the study will first be presented. Theories and corresponding

empirical evidence of the interdependence of language systems in bilinguals will then

be presented and identified as further support for the existence of a relationship

between bilingualism and critical thinking ability. Relevant research findings focusing

on the critical thinking ability and critical thinking dispositions of baccalaureate

nursing students will then be presented. This will be followed by a presentation of

both Whorfs (1956) and Vygotsky's (1934/1962, 1978) theories of the relationship

between thought and language. Finally, Cummins' (1979a) threshold hypothesis will

be presented in light of related theories as the theoretical basis for the study.



Cognitive Functioning in Bilinguals

The goal of this section is to report and relate to the study those research

findings that both are relevant and provide support to the existence of positive

relationships between bilingualism and critical thinking ability and between

bilingualism and critical thinking disposition. As will become apparent, a waxing and

waning pattern in the number of relevant research studies that have been conducted









during this century is clearly present. As a result of early studies yielding

contradictory findings, the frequency of studies being conducted declined to an all time

low around 1962 (Cummins, 1976; Reynolds, 1991). In 1962, however, Peal and

Lambert (1962) published a landmark study that has been referred to as the

punctuation point in bilingual research. The vastly improved methodological

characteristics of the Peal and Lambert study combined with other factors will be

identified as contributing to a resurgence of interest in studying the effects of

bilingualism on cognitive development and functioning. The frequency of studies

since Peal and Lambert's milestone study will be shown to have steadily increased,

with more consistent findings further feeding a renewed interest in such research.

Finally, a brief introduction to a constellation of factors that have been identified as

confounds contributing to earlier contradictory findings will be followed by the means

by which they will be controlled in the study.

Since the turn of the century, the cognitive effects of bilingualism have

continuously been sought out. Most of the studies conducted during the first half of

this century yielded contradictory findings as a result of what many have since viewed

as significant methodological weaknesses. Generally, however, throughout these

earlier studies, bilinguals were portrayed in comparisons with monolinguals as having

lower IQ scores and generally poorer academic performance, and as being socially

maladjusted (Reynolds, 1991). It now seems that nearly every early study that

supported the notion that bilinguals suffered from some sort of language handicap has

been countered by others that support the notion that bilinguals actually enjoy a








17

significant cognitive advantage over monolinguals. Specific methodological problems

that such early studies apparently suffered from include lack of an agreed upon

definition of bilingualism; difficulty in determining degree of bilingualism; failure to

control for significant IQ correlates such as age, gender, socioeconomic background,

and amount of education (especially in light of the significant selection threat to

internal validity posed by nonrandomly assigned groups); the potential for

experimenter expectancies biasing the results; incomparability of the bilingual and

monolingual samples in terms of testing language proficiency (e.g., intelligence tests

typically administered in the bilinguals' weaker language); use of tests that had not

been standardized; and attempts to establish a causal relationship via cross-sectional

research designs even though longitudinal experimental designs are more appropriate

(Baker, 1988; Cummins, 1976; Diaz, 1983; Hakuta & Diaz, 1985; Hakuta, 1986;

Kessler & Quinn, 1982; MacLaughlin, 1984/1985; MacNab, 1979; Macnamara 1966;

Reynolds, 1991). As studies continued to yield contradictory findings due in part to

their apparent methodological weaknesses, their frequency continued to decline until

1962.

In 1962, Peal and Lambert reversed the declining trend in the number of studies

being conducted when they published what many have subsequently viewed as a study

based upon a vastly improved methodological design. The Peal and Lambert (1962)

study yielded results highly supportive of the positive cognitive effects of bilingualism.

In their report, Peal and Lambert (1962) initially drew attention to the ratio of past

studies that reported positive, negative, or no effects of bilingualism. According to







18

Peal and Lambert, the largest portion of the studies concluded that bilingualism has a

detrimental effect on intellectual functioning, a smaller portion reported little or no

effect, and only two studies concluded that bilingualism has a positive effect on

intellectual functioning. In attempting to resolve what they believed to be

contradictory findings produced by earlier studies, Peal and Lambert stressed the

importance of controlling certain variables that would likely have presented confounds.

Specifically, Peal and Lambert (1962) argued that ". important variables to control

seem to be socioeconomic class, sex, degree of bilinguality, age, and the actual tests

used" (p. 5). In light of the apparently poor research methodologies employed by

earlier studies, Peal and Lambert concluded their review of the past research by

arguing ". there is little evidence to suggest that bilinguals differ from monolinguals

on nonverbal intelligence, but ... at a certain stage in the learning of the second

language, a bilingual may suffer from a language handicap" (p. 5). In examining the

theoretical basis supporting the existence of such a relationship, Peal and Lambert

called upon the work of others in the field and hypothesized that ".. two groups of

subjects, one monolingual and the other bilingual, should not differ significantly on

nonverbal IQ, but might differ on verbal IQ as measured by intelligence tests

standardized in the native language of both the monolinguals and bilinguals [with]

the monolinguals expected to perform significantly better than the bilinguals on

the verbal tests" (p. 7). The unexpected results of their study led them to conclude

that "bilinguals performed better than monolinguals on verbal and nonverbal

intelligence tests" (p. 20). In attempting to reconcile this finding with the intellectual










nature of the two groups, Peal and Lambert argued that bilinguals have "... a

language asset, are more facile at concept formation, and have a greater mental

flexibility .. [and that factor analysis results suggest they] have a more diversified set

of mental abilities than [do] the monolinguals" (p. 22). Peal and Lambert described

their newly discovered mental flexibility in terms of a bilingual's habitual language

switching as follows:

Compound bilinguals typically acquire experience in switching from one
language to another, possibly trying to solve a problem while thinking in
one language, and then, when blocked, switching to the other. This
habit, if it were developed, could help them in their performance on tests
requiring symbolic reorganization since they demand a readiness to drop
one hypothesis or concept and try another. (p. 14)

Such a habit is believed by the present investigator to be an asset to anyone attempting

to think critically. Overall, the Peal and Lambert study has been widely recognized as

a milestone in bilingualism research.

In paying homage to the significant impact that the Peal and Lambert study had

upon subsequent research on bilingualism, Hakuta, Ferdman, and Diaz (1986) referred

to it as the "punctuation point" in bilingual research. Many who attempted to

downplay Peal and Lambert's (1962) positive findings were thwarted by their

incorporation into the study of numerous controls that previously remained, for the

most part, overlooked. Reynolds (1991) has attributed the profound effect the Peal

and Lambert study has had on the fields of psycholinguistics and bilingual education

to three factors. First, its methodology was far superior to former studies. Second,

the results of the study were very significant from a sociopolitical perspective in that

the findings implied ". that a policy of national bilingualism would not be a policy










of national intellectual inferiority" (Reynolds, 1991, p. 147). Third, the study was

published in the same year that the theory of Lev Vygotsky (1934/1962) was

translated and published. Thus, the Peal and Lambert study contributed substantially

to a renewed interest in studies of bilingualism. Following the lead of Peal and

Lambert, later studies have been designed to be more methodologically sound and

their respective findings have more consistently provided support of numerous positive

cognitive effects resulting from bilingualism. Findings resulting from these more

recent studies yield support to the notion of bilingualism being associated with

enhancements in such cognitive functioning factors as divergent thinking skills

(Carringer, 1974; Landry, 1974; Torrance, Gowan, Wu, & Aliotti, 1970), field

independence (Duncan & DeAvila, 1979), concept formation (Bain, 1974; Liedtke &

Nelson, 1968), linguistic and metalinguistic awareness (Cummins, 1978; Feldman &

Shen, 1971; lanco-Worrall, 1972), and cognitive flexibility in terms of both verbal and

spatial ability tasks (Balkan, 1970; Ben-Zeev, 1977; Landry, 1974; Peal & Lambert.

1962). Such findings may be viewed as supportive of the existence of relationships

between both bilingualism and critical thinking ability, and bilingualism and critical

thinking disposition. The extent to which such findings support the existence of these

two relationships is a function of the association between the theoretical constructs

examined in each of the respective studies and both critical thinking ability and

disposition.










Bilingualism and Critical Thinking Ability

In terms of the field independence/dependence dimension of cognitive style,

Duncan and DeAvila (1979), while carefully controlling for the sample's actual degree

of bilingualism, discovered that children whose bilingualism was categorized as

balanced, exhibited advanced skills at perceptual disembedding and produced the most

field-independent drawings when compared with the other groups studied. Duncan

and DeAvila further uncovered a positive linear relationship between degree of relative

language proficiency in English and Spanish and field independence.

Thus, in terms of the relationship between research findings that support a

bilingual's more field independent cognitive style and the present study, Facione's

(1990) conceptualization of critical thinking ability specifically identifies ". ..

purposeful, self-regulatory judgment which results in explanation of ... contextual

considerations upon which that judgment is based ..." (p. 3) as a key component of

the ability to think critically. Therefore, the Duncan and DeAvila (1979) study

findings also support the existence of a relationship between bilingualism and critical

thinking ability. Additional support for the existence of a relationship between

bilingualism and critical thinking ability, as provided via the notion of field

independence, is available in the form of a study conducted by Gunning (1981). In

studying the relationships among field independence, critical thinking ability, and the

clinical problem solving ability of baccalaureate nursing students, Gunning (1981)

discovered, among other things, a statistically significant positive relationship between

field independence and critical thinking ability.










Using a Piagetian theoretical framework in their study of concept formation,

Liedtke and Nelson (1968) investigated differences between bilinguals and

monolinguals on a concept formation task. On both measures utilized in their study,

bilinguals performed significantly better than their monolingual counterparts. So great

was the difference that Liedtke and Nelson were compelled to conclude that "a second

language should be introduced during the early years when experience and

environmental factors are most effective in contributing to the development of

intelligence" (p. 231). Bain (1974) on the other hand, chose to examine the effects of

bilingualism on discovery learning tasks. Such tasks have been characterized in

Piagetian terms as involving concept formation abilities such as classification and

generalization of rules. While very carefully controlling for bilingual/monolingual

group differences, Bain (1974) discovered that, although not to a level of statistical

significance, bilinguals did outperform their monolingual counterparts in measures of

concept formation. In summary, such studies suggest that bilinguals have enhanced

concept formation abilities over their monolingual counterparts.

Thus, in terms of the relationship between research findings that support a

bilingual's enhanced concept formation ability and the present study, Facione's (1990)

conceptualization of critical thinking ability specifically identifies ". purposeful,

self-regulatory judgment which results in .. explanation of ... conceptual ...

considerations upon which that judgment is based ." (p. 3) as a key component of

the ability to think critically. Therefore, the aforementioned findings also support the

existence of a relationship between bilingualism and critical thinking ability.










As a result of one of the most detailed accounts of childhood language

acquisition, Leopold (1949)--in closely studying the acquisition of two languages by

his daughter Hildegard--postulated that the separation of word sound from word

meaning leads to an early awareness in the bilingual child of the conventionality of

words and the arbitrariness of language. Leopold further postulated that such an

awareness could promote more abstract levels of thinking. Leopold's beliefs are in

accord with what Vygotsky considered one of the advantages of bilingualism, that is,

that it nurtures abstraction by freeing the mind "from the prison of concrete language

forms and phenomenon" (Cummins, 1976, p. 29). Vygotsky (l'-l Il';r has argued

further that being able to express the same thought in different languages enables one

to "see his language as one particular system among many, to view its phenomena

under more general categories, and this leads to awareness of his linguistic operations"

(p. 110). Such views of a bilingual's enhanced metalinguistic awareness find

empirical support via numerous studies that have since been conducted. For example.

Feldman and Shen (1971) in a study of 5-year-old bilinguals and monolinguals found

bilinguals to be better at relabeling objects and expressing relationships between

objects in simple sentences. Ianco-Worrall (1972) conducted what many researchers

believe to be an especially well designed and controlled set of experiments examining

the effects of bilingualism on linguistic awareness in 4- to 6-year-old children. The

results of her study led lanco-Worrall to conclude that bilingual children reach each

stage of semantic development two to three years earlier than their monolingual

counterparts. Cummins (1978) later followed suit by examining the effects of








24

bilingualism specifically on metalinguistic awareness, which he defined as the ability

to objectively analyze linguistic output and to "look at language rather than through it

to the intended meaning" (p. 127). In his study of third- and sixth- grade bilinguals in

which he controlled for differences due to IQ and socioeconomic status, Cummins

(1978) discovered that his bilingual subjects had a greater awareness of the arbitrary

nature of linguistic reference. In a second experiment, Cummins (1978) discovered

results that were "consistent with previous findings in that they suggest that

bilingualism promotes an analytic orientation to linguistic input" (p. 135). Finally, as

for the direct relationship between critical thinking ability as but one facet of thought

and general verbal ability, studies suggest that a relationship truly exists (Facione,

1990; Rust, Jones, & Kaiser, 1962). Follman (1993) has gone so far as to argue that

".. critical thinking probably does not exist as a psychometrically established, unique

construct separate from verbal ability" (p. 74).

Thus, in terms of the relationship between research findings that support a

bilingual's enhanced metalinguistic awareness and the present study, Facione's (1990)

conceptualization of critical thinking ability specifically identifies ". purposeful,

self-regulatory judgment ..." (p. 3) as a key component of the ability to think

critically. Therefore, the aforementioned findings also support the existence of a

relationship between bilingualism and critical thinking ability.










Bilingualism and Critical Thinking Disposition

In comparing the creative functioning of bilingual and monolingual children in

Singapore, Torrance, Gowan, Wu, and Aliotti (1970) expected a positive correlation to

be uncovered. Creativity is closely identified by Torrance with divergent productions

and transformations as with the ability to take different perspectives and different

approaches to a given problem. Although the study is not without its own

methodological weaknesses, it yielded findings indicative of hii.nu-il n. .ri-, ii ru.i

group differences in originality. Carringer (1974), in studying high school students of

varying degrees of bilingual proficiency, also discovered significant differences in

creativity test performance. Carringer concluded that "bilingualism does promote

creative thinking abilities and at least in part serves to free the mind from the tyranny

of words" (p. 502). Carringer further argued that "since the bilingual has two terms

for one referent, his attention is focused on ideas and not words, on content rather than

form, on meaning rather than symbol, and this is very important in the intellectual

process as it permits greater cognitive flexibility" (p. 503). In a similar study Landry

(1974) concluded that flexibility-produced by learning a second language--was

conducive to both divergent thinking and originality. Landry based his conclusion on

the fact that although no difference in creativity was discovered between first graders

enrolled in a regular school program and those who were also learning a second

language, by the third grade the two groups exhibited significant differences in favor

of the second language learners on all measures of the Torrance test.









Thus, in terms of the relationship between research findings that support the

enhanced divergent thinking skills of bilinguals and the present study, Facione's

(1990) conceptualization of critical thinking disposition specifically identifies

inquisitiveness and willingness to reconsider alternatives as key dispositions of an

ideal critical thinker. Therefore, the research findings also support the existence of a

relationship between bilingualism and critical thinking disposition.

Finally, in terms of cognitive flexibility--a term that has been variously defined-

-Peal and Lambert's (1962) study-as presented earlier--was perhaps the first to present

empirical evidence of enhanced mental flexibility being associated with bilingualism.

Balkan (1970), later used the cognitive flexibility term to describe performance on

perceptual and set changing tasks as measured by several tests including Figures

Cachees and Histoires. In this frequently cited study of a bilinguals' cognitive

flexibility, Balkan discovered that not only did the bilingual group perform

significantly higher than the monolingual group in both measures, but that the positive

effects of bilingualism on cognitive flexibility were most pronounced in those subjects

who had become bilingual prior to age four. In the Landry (1974) study, the cognitive

flexibility term was used to described divergent thinking skills measured by tests of

creativity. Although Landry's study yielded findings that provide support primarily to

the notion of enhanced divergent thinking skills of bilinguals, the same findings, when

expressed in different terms may be viewed as providing support secondarily to the

concept of enhanced cognitive flexibility of bilinguals. Finally, Ben-Zeev (1977) has

used the cognitive flexibility label to describe bilinguals' improved attention to







27

structure in detail. In her study of Hebrew-English bilingual children, Ben-Zeev found

that bilingual children displayed superiority in both symbol substitution and verbal

transformation tasks. In addition, Ben-Zeev reported that bilinguals are better than

their monolingual counterparts in certain matrix transposition tasks. In summarizing

her results, Ben-Zeev (1977) argued as follows:

Two strategies characterized the thinking patterns of the bilinguals in
relation to verbal material: readiness to impute structure and readiness to
reorganize. The patterns they seek are primarily linguistic, but this
process also operates with visual patterns, as in their aptness at isolating
the dimensions of a matrix. (p. 1017)

According to Ben-Zeev (1977), bilinguals must develop a keen awareness of the

structural similarities and differences between their two languages in their attempts to

avoid linguistic interference.

Thus, in terms of the relationship between research findings that support a

bilingual's enhanced cognitive flexibility and the present study, Facione's (1990)

conceptualization of critical thinking disposition specifically identifies open-

mindedness, flexibility, and willing to reconsider as key dispositions of the ideal

critical thinker. Therefore, the research findings also support the existence of a

relationship between bilingualism and critical thinking disposition.

Thus, the relationship between bilingualism and enhanced cognitive functioning

finds support in research findings. Such findings are also believed to provide strong

evidence of the existence of positive relationships between bilingualism and enhanced

critical thinking ability, and between bilingualism and enhanced critical thinking

disposition.









In summary, the frequency of studies that have examined the cognitive

functioning of bilinguals, although representing a waxing and waning of interest as a

result of early contradictory but primarily negative and later primarily positive

findings, has, since 1962, continued to increase. The Peal and Lambert (1962) study

has come to be recognized by many as significantly contributing to not only a better

understanding of the effects of bilingualism on cognitive functioning but also to more

methodologically sound research intended to uncover such effects. Following the

vastly improved research methodology lead established by the Peal and Lambert

(1962) study, numerous researchers have since consistently reported findings in

support of many cognitive functioning benefits being associated with bilingualism.

Finally, upon reviewing a sampling of such research studies, the present investigator

offered empirical evidence in support of the existence of relationships between

bilingualism and critical thinking ability and between bilingualism and critical thinking

disposition.



Language Interdependence in Bilinguals

The goal of this section is to report and relate to the study those theories and

research findings that both are relevant and provide further support to the existence of

a relationship between bilingualism and critical thinking ability. In order to achieve

this goal, the linguistic interdependence theories posited by Paivio (1991) and

Cummins (1981) will first be presented. Empirical evidence in support of Cummins

(1981) theory will then be identified. Finally, the two theories will be posited as a










basis for the existence of a relationship between bilingualism and critical thinking

ability.

Theories regarding the relationship between the two language systems of a

bilingual have been posited both by Paivio (1991) and Cummins (1981). In building

upon the work of their predecessors, Paivio and Desrochers (1980) developed the

bilingual dual coding model in which Paivio (1991) postulates the existence of three

systems. In addition to the two separate verbal systems corresponding to each of the

bilingual's two languages, there exists a third, nonverbal imagery system that connects

both verbal systems in a one-to-many fashion in both directions. According to Paivio,

"the three systems are assumed to be functionally independent but also interconnected

in ways that would produce effects consistent with functional interdependence under

appropriate conditions" (Paivio, 1991, p. 118). Paivio originally formulated his theory

in an attempt to better explain why the bilingual's languages sometime appear to be

independent and, at others times, interdependent. According to Paivio (1991),

"positive cross-language transfer and savings in learning tasks could be mediated by

common images elicited by translation equivalents or by a direct translation tactic" (p.

122). Such a representation is highly congruent with others that have been proposed

and supports the potential for transferability of knowledge across language systems.

Figure 1 represents the relationship between the two language systems of a bilingual

as postulated by Cummins (1981).
















Surface Features
of Li


Surface Features
of L2


Figure 1 Cummins' (1981) linguistic interdependence model


Cummins (1985) argued that "first and second language academic skills are

interdependent, i.e. manifestations of a common underlying proficiency" (p. 142).

Cummins based his argument on the fact that "in bilingual programme evaluations

little relationship has been found between amount of instructional time through the

majority language and academic achievement in that language" (p. 142). Cummins

(1985) has further argued in more concrete terms that what this principle means is that

"in a Spanish-English Bilingual programme, Spanish instruction that develops first

language reading skills for Spanish-speaking students is not just developing Spanish

skills, it is also developing a deeper conceptual and linguistic proficiency that is







31

strongly related to the development of English literacy and general academic skills" (p.

134). In identifying some of the literacy-related skills involved in the common

underlying proficiency, Cummins (1985) argued that "subject matter knowledge,

higher-order thinking skills, reading strategies, writing composition skills, etc.

developed through the medium of L, transfer or become available to L2" (p. 144).

Cummins (1985) bases his common underlying proficiency principle in evidence

derived from the following:

(1) results of bilingual education programmes (2) studies relating
both age on arrival and L, literacy development to immigrant students'
L2 acquisition ... (3) studies relating bilingual language use in the home
to academic achievement ... (4) studies of relationships of L, to L,
cognitive academic proficiency and (5) experimental studies of
bilingual information processing. (p. 144)

The relationship between the two languages in a bilingual, as postulated by the

theories of both Paivio and Cummins, thus intimate the existence of a set of

connections shared between the two language systems. This set of connections can be

viewed as enhancing the potential for transferability of academic skills and knowledge

between a bilingual's two language systems. The enhanced ability to transfer such

skills and knowledge between language systems is believed to have a positive impact

on a bilingual's ability to think critically, hence providing additional support to the

existence of a relationship between bilingualism and critical thinking ability.

In summary, theories describing the relationship between a bilingual's two

language systems as being interdependent were presented as enhancing a bilingual's

enhanced cognitive function potential and in turn his or her ability to think critically.

Evidence in support of Cummins' (1981) common underlying proficiency principle










was then identified. Finally, the two theories were posed as a basis for positing the

existence of a relationship between bilingualism and critical thinking ability.



Critical Thinking Ability and Disposition in Nursing Students

The goal of this section is to present those theories and research findings that

both are relevant and provide a basis for postulating the existence of a relationship

between critical thinking disposition and critical thinking ability in baccalaureate

nursing students. The reader will develop a better appreciation of the reasons

contributing to the paucity of empirical research in this area. As will become

apparent, such research has been severely constrained by a dearth of instruments

designed to measure the disposition toward critical thinking. Based on Lewin's (1935)

theory of motivation and the empirical research findings in nursing, a case will be

presented that suggests the existence of a relationship between critical thinking

disposition and critical thinking ability in baccalaureate nursing students.

Of the relationships the study was aimed at uncovering, the relationship

between critical thinking disposition and critical thinking ability stands out as being

the least established through empirical research findings. The relationship is believed

to be complex in nature and has therefore not yet been fully elucidated (Facione,

Facione & Sanchez, 1994a). According to Facione, Facione, and Sanchez (1994b),

revealing a relationship between the disposition toward critical thinking and the ability

to think critically poses a significant challenge since as they describe it:

As with so many person-characteristics, it may be the case that we will
not find direct behavioral manifestations of a person's disposition toward










critical thinking. It might happen that CT abilities and the disposition
toward CT are strongly correlated at the higher end of the spectrum, but
not correlated significantly in persons with lower skill or dispositional
levels. Or, perhaps more in keeping with what experienced educators
might predict, the correlations are stronger at the two ends of the
spectrum, but not in the middle ranges. (p. 13)

Additional challenges to the study of the relationship between critical thinking

disposition and critical thinking ability have been posed via the greatly delayed

formulation of a consensus conceptualization of critical thinking disposition.

Theoretical support for the existence of a relationship between critical thinking

disposition and critical thinking ability exists in the form of Lewin's (1935) theory of

motivation. Lewin's (1935) theory predicts the existence of such a relationship based

on an individual's motivation to establish equilibrium between the disposition toward

and the ability to think critically. Motivation stemming from a need to establish

equilibrium through the attainment of critical thinking skills thus supports the notion

that the relationship is most pronounced when the individual exhibits high levels both

in their disposition toward and in their ability to think critically. Such a theory also

implies that until a minimal threshold of critical thinking ability is attained the

relationship may not be apparent (Facione, Facione & Sanchez, 1994a).

In terms of the disposition toward critical thinking in nursing, Facione, Facione,

and Sanchez (1994b) have argued that "at an intuitive level the disposition toward CT

seems evident in the exercise of clinical judgment .. ." (p. 15). Such an intuitive

sense is based in part upon conceptual analyses of professional judgment that Facione,

Facione, and Sanchez (1994b) further argue is composed of "(a) content knowledge ..

. (b) experiential knowledge... and (c) the disposition and ability to use CT to make










sound, informed, reasoned, purposeful, and reflective professional judgments" (p. 15).

Such a belief finds further empirical support based in research conducted in the field

of nursing. In a study conducted by Berger (1984), baccalaureate nursing students

were found to have higher critical thinking abilities than liberal arts students, thus

lending support to the existence of a relationship between critical thinking disposition

and ability via Facione, Facione, and Sanchez's (1994b) componential description of

professional judgment. Further evidence of the link between critical thinking

disposition and nursing, according to Sweeney (1993), has been documented for

almost 100 years and it continues in the present time. According to Sweeney (1993),

"critical thinking along with professional values and attitudes, [that may be viewed as

critical thinking dispositions] and the ability to integrate theory into the role of the

nurse are viewed as competencies essential to professional nurses" (p. 20). Finally, as

previously cited, studies conducted by Gunning (1981) have established a link between

field independence and critical thinking ability in baccalaureate nursing students that

when combined with studies that have yielded support for a relationship between field

independence and bilingualism together provide support to the existence of a

relationship between bilingualism and critical thinking ability in baccalaureate nursing

students.

In summary, although a much delayed consensus as to the precise

conceptualization of critical thinking disposition and the corresponding dearth of

available instruments to measure the construct have placed significant constraints on

the exploration of relationships between critical thinking disposition and ability, the










relationship finds support in both theory and empirical research findings. In

presenting such evidence, a case was built in support of the existence of a yet to be

fully elucidated relationship between critical thinking disposition and critical thinking

abilities in baccalaureate nursing students.



Thought and Language

This section will address two particular theories of the relationship between

language and thought as posited first by Whorf (1956) and then by Vygotsky

(1934/1962, 1978). Both theories further support the existence of relationships

between both bilingualism and critical thinking ability and between bilingualism and

critical thinking disposition.

Perhaps two of the most widely recognized theories of the relationship between

language and thought have been posited by Whorf and Vygotsky. Both of their

theories suggest that language plays a role in various thought processes. Of the two

theories, Whorf's is the less definite. As a result of a lack of specificity in Whorf's

theory, various interpretations of it have continued to spark controversy over the yet to

be fully understood nature of the relationship between language and thought.

According to Whorf's (1956) linguistic determinism hypothesis, language may

be viewed as determining the shape of thought. As Whorf (1956) wrote:

We dissect nature along lines laid down by our native languages ... we
cut nature up, organize it into concepts, and ascribe significance as we
do, largely because we are parties to an agreement to organize it in this
way an agreement that holds throughout our speech community and is
codified in the patterns of our language. The agreement is, of course, an










implicit and unstated one, BUT ITS TERMS ARE ABSOLUTELY
OBLIGATORY. (p. 213)

In combination with Whorf's notion of linguistic relativism, which basically argues

that languages differ in how they segment reality, Whorf's hypotheses postulate that

speakers of different languages are forced into different patterns of thought as well.

Although Whorf's lack of specificity in formalizing his theory has left many scholars

desiring greater detail, evidence has tended to support what has been referred to as a

weak Whorfian position (Hakuta, 1986). That is, instead of the relationship between

language and thought being characterized as deterministic, it is best characterized by

Whorf's hypothesis as a tendency. Hakuta (1986) has argued that the weak form of

the Whorfian hypothesis may be viewed as suggesting that "the bilingual is a happy

thinker. Any given problem can be handled through two linguistic systems, and the

languages can be alternated in search of the one that more efficiently guides

thinking" (p. 77). Thus, although Whorf has failed to be specific in describing his

theory of the relationship between language and thought, it clearly is difficult to refute

the possibility that one's thought processes have a tendency to operate along different

lines defined by one's language and as such would provide a bilingual a wider range

of thought.

Vygotsky (1934/1962, 1978) has similarly theorized that language plays a

crucial part in cognitive development. Vygotsky (1978) was particularly interested in

the speech that children directed toward themselves when attempting to solve

problems. Vygotsky (1978) distinguished this special form of speech--that he referred

to as egocentric speech--from social speech that is used by children when







37

communicating ideas. For Vygotsky (1978) "the greatest change in children's capacity

to use language as a problem-solving tool takes place .. when socialized speech

(which was previously used to address an adult) is turned inward" (p. 79). In

addressing metalinguistic awareness in bilinguals, Vygotsky (1934/1962) argued that

bilinguality allows the child "to see his language as one particular system among

many, to view its phenomena under more general categories, and this leads to

awareness of his linguistic operations" (p. 110). Thus, Vygotsky has argued that

language plays a crucial role in the development of logical thought in that it is initially

used by the child as a form of communication but later also becomes a medium for

organizing thought and ordering the components of its abstract symbol system.

In summary, the theories of Whorf and Vygotsky, convincingly support the

relationship between thought and language. Both theories clearly suggest that

language plays a mediating role in the cognitive functioning of bilinguals. Thus, the

theories of both Whorf and Vygotsky can be viewed as providing support to the

existence of relationships between both bilingualism and critical thinking ability and

between bilingualism and critical thinking disposition.



Threshold Hypothesis

The goal of this section is to describe Cummins' (1976) threshold hypothesis as

it relates to the present study. The threshold hypothesis will first be presented in light

of related theories. Finally, the threshold hypothesis will be presented as the primary

theoretical basis for the study.










The threshold hypothesis initially evolved, according to Cummins (1979a), "as

an attempt to resolve the apparent inconsistencies in the results of early and more

recent studies of the relationships between bilingualism and cognition" (p. 227). Such

inconsistencies were due in part to the contexts in which the studies were carried out.

Many of the studies yielding support for the idea of the positive cognitive effects of

bilingualism were conducted in settings that fostered the development of an additive

form of bilingualism. Conversely, studies that yielded evidence denying the existence

of such positive cognitive effects were conducted in settings that fostered the

development of a subtractive form of bilingualism. Based on such an observation,

Cummins (1976) formulated the threshold hypothesis.

In describing the threshold hypothesis, Cummins (1976) initially postulated that

". the level of linguistic competence attained by a bilingual child may mediate the

effects of his bilingual learning experiences on cognitive growth" (p. 1). In a later

work, Cummins (1979a) restated the threshold hypothesis:

The attainment of a lower threshold level of bilingual competence would
be sufficient to avoid any negative cognitive effects; but the attainment
of a second, higher, level of competence might be necessary to lead to
accelerated cognitive growth. (p. 230)

As is depicted in figure 2, the threshold hypothesis assumes that "those aspects

of bilingualism which might positively influence cognitive growth are unlikely to

come into effect until the child has attained a certain minimum or threshold level of

competence in a second language" (Cummins, 1979a, p. 229).













Type of Blllngualism


Figure 2


A. additive blllnouallam positive
high levels in both cognitive
language effects


B. dominant bllnogualism


neither positive


higher threshold
m '-- -. .11 .


compete


natlve-Ike level In nor negative
one of the languages cognitive effects or
level of
C. semlllnguallam negative cOmpet
low level In both cognitive
languages (may be effect.
balanced lo dominant)







Cognitive effects of different types of bilingualism


ence

ireshold
bilingual
ence


In addition, attainment of only a very low level of competence in the second (or first)

language, will result in an impoverishment in the interaction with the environment

through that language (Cummins, 1979a).

Other researchers have since provided empirical evidence in support of the

notion that the relationship between cognitive factors (e.g., critical thinking ability and

critical thinking disposition) and bilingualism is very much determined by the extent

of language competence in each of the two languages (Duncan & DeAvila, 1979;

Hakuta & Diaz, 1985; Kessler & Quinn, 1980). According to Cummins (1979a), the

threshold hypothesis may be viewed as "... a framework with which to predict the


I


111:1:1:n i 1 ;


.


Cognitive effect










academic and cognitive effects of different forms of bilingualism" (p. 232). It is

precisely through this framework that the study was expected to uncover relationships

among bilingualism, critical thinking ability, and the critical thinking disposition of

baccalaureate nursing students.

Still, others have theorized about the role that language plays in thought.

Bruner (1973, 1975) for example, has postulated how children use language to develop

solutions to problems. Segalowitz (1977), in focusing more on bilinguals, has argued

that bilinguals should have a superior mental calculus resulting from switching

between their two rule systems. As interesting as these hypotheses may be, the

theories of Vygotsky and Whorf, as previously discussed, provide the greatest support

for the posited relationship between thought and language and in turn for the existence

of relationships between both bilingualism and critical thinking ability and between

bilingualism and critical thinking disposition.

Cummins' (1979a) threshold hypothesis was identified as the most appropriate

theoretical framework with which to examine the relationships among bilingualism,

critical thinking ability, and critical thinking disposition. The major focus of the

present study was to test Cummins' (1979a) threshold hypothesis in a new situation.



Summary

In summary, a review of the literature has uncovered both significant theoretical

understandings and empirical evidence in support of the concept of the existence of

relationships among bilingualism, critical thinking ability, and the critical thinking







41

disposition of baccalaureate nursing students. Such evidence was organized and

presented in terms of the cognitive functioning of bilinguals, language interdependence

in bilinguals, critical thinking ability, and critical thinking disposition of baccalaureate

nursing students, and the relationship between thought and language. Finally,

Cummins' (1979a) threshold hypothesis was presented in light of related theories as

the theoretical basis for the study.













CHAPTER 3
DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY

Introduction

This study was designed to determine if relationships exist among bilingualism,

critical thinking ability, and critical thinking disposition of baccalaureate nursing

students. This chapter includes a description of the research design, procedures,

population and sample, instrumentation, data collection, and the data analysis to be

used as a means of providing answers to the research questions aimed at addressing

the research problem. The specific research questions posed consist of the following:

1. Is there a statistically significant curvilinear relationship between

bilingualism and critical thinking ability?

2. Is there a statistically significant curvilinear relationship between

bilingualism and critical thinking disposition?

3. Is there a statistically significant relationship between critical thinking

ability and critical thinking disposition?



Study Design and Procedures

As a result of the widely held belief supported by past research that random

assignment to language development groups is practically impossible, the relationships

among the constructs identified in the study were examined within groups. The study










design can therefore be summarized as a cross-sectional pooled within-bilingual

correlational design in which a randomly selected group of baccalaureate nursing

student volunteers was measured for language proficiency, critical thinking ability,

critical thinking disposition, gender, age, grade point average, and socioeconomic

status. Administration of the instruments at each of the four sites was performed

within a single time block scheduled to maximize volunteerism and responsiveness

while minimizing fatigue and boredom threats contributing to subject mortality.

Based upon a thorough review, several relevant factors were identified that

should be controlled for when studying the relationship between bilingualism and

critical thinking and between bilingualism and critical thinking disposition. Included

among the factors for which the research suggests that controls be incorporated are

age, gender, and socioeconomic status (Cummins, 1979a; Hakuta, Ferdman, & Diaz,

1986; Peal & Lambert, 1962). Reviews of past research also indicated the importance

of examining the construct of bilingualism with great care. Hakuta, Ferdman, and

Diaz (1986) argued that parcelling out first language ability from second language

ability is the most appropriate means of measuring degree of bilingualism. In terms of

potential confounds, which were particularly relevant to the study's population, other

researchers have suggested that baccalaureate students are better critical thinkers than

are associate nurses (Frederickson & Mayer, 1977; Gross, Takazawa, & Rose 1987;

Kintgen-Andrews, 1988; Lynch, 1989). This potential confound to the present study

was controlled by limiting the levels within the academic degree variable to one (i.e.,

the study examined only baccalaureate nursing students). Another pertinent factor,










shown by past research to have a particular bearing on studies involving nursing

students, is the overall grade point average of the subject (Tiessen, 1987). Therefore,

grade point average for each of the subjects involved in the study was determined and

subsequently controlled for via statistical analysis. In terms of studies that have

focused on an examination of the effectiveness of various critical thinking instructional

programs, they have yielded mixed findings (Keller, 1993; Quellmalz, 1984;Smith,

1977; Sternberg & Bhana, 1986). Such studies have also left baccalaureate nursing

program administration and faculty wishing for a clearer identification and

understanding of the factors that most influence such instruction. Exposure of the

subjects to critical thinking instruction was not considered therefore a confound to be

controlled in the present study. Overall, the design of the present study incorporated

statistical analysis as a means of controlling the potentially confounding influence of

subject age, gender, socioeconomic status, and grade point average.



Population and Sample

The population from which subjects were drawn for the study consisted of

students majoring in baccalaureate nursing programs at public universities in both

Maine and New Brunswick, Canada. This population has a relatively high proportion

of students being characterized by varying degrees of bilingual proficiency. Based

upon communications with the universities' colleges of nursing, it was believed there

would be a sufficient number of volunteers to support a minimal sample size of 100

subjects.










Instrumentation

Measures of the following variables were collected from each of the subjects

participating in the study:

1. Bilingualism (C-Tests in both French and English);

2. Age (Demographic Data Questionnaire);

3. Gender (Demographic Data Questionnaire);

4. Socioeconomic status (Demographic Data Questionnaire);

5. Cumulative Grade Point Average (Demographic Data Questionnaire);

6. Critical thinking ability (California Critical Thinking Skills Test);

7. Critical thinking disposition (California Critical Thinking Disposition

Inventory).

A description of each of these instruments follows.



C-Test

Language testers have long sought a relatively simple, easy, and inexpensive

way of constructing reliable and valid language tests. C-Tests were originally

developed during the early 1980s in response to a number of criticisms focused upon

various cloze test deletion strategies in use at the time (Klein-Braley & Raatz, 1984).

The word "cloze" was invented by W. L. Taylor to refer to a type of test originally

designed to measure the readability of passages of prose (Taylor, 1953). Taylor

(1953) derived the term from the gestalt psychology term for the tendency to complete

a familiar but not-quite-finished pattern. Taylor's (1953) cloze test method later







46

became "widely adapted for testing language competence, both in first languages and

second languages" (Carroll, 1987, p. 99). Instead of applying various methods of

deleting whole words from a passage of prose to form a mutilated passage that the

subject was then asked to reconstruct, the C-Test deletes the second half of every

second word in a passage while leaving the first and last sentences intact. Although

both tests present the subject with mutilated text that must be reconstructed, C-Tests

have circumvented many of the problems associated with the cloze test. The aim of

the developers of the C-Test was to "retain the underlying theory but to improve the

sampling process in test development and therefore in subject performance" (Klein-

Braley, 1985, p. 83). By improving the sampling process, the C-Test gets at a broader

spectrum of general language proficiency sub-skills (e.g., vocabulary, grammar). The

C-Test's ability to capture a broader spectrum of skills along different language

proficiency dimensions is more in accord with Cummins' (1979b) basic interpersonal

communication skills (BICS)/cognitive/academic language proficiency (CALP)

theoretical framework that conceptualizes language proficiency in terms of cognitive

demand and context embeddedness dimensions. Overall, the C-Test has proven to be

easy to both construct and score, and has been accepted by examinees as a legitimate

language testing procedure (Klein-Braley & Raatz, 1984). "The great virtue [sic] of

the C-Test is that it spreads out examinees along a continuum and that the rankings it

produces show high agreement with teacher judgments and with the results of other

more complex language tests" (Klein-Braley & Raatz, 1984, p. 145).










It has been suggested that C-Tests be composed of four or more text passages

in order to avoid text content bias. It has also been argued that C-Tests consisting of

as few as two passages can provide reliable and valid information (Klein-Braley &

Raatz, 1984). For the purposes of the present study, three passages were selected that

were successfully utilized in a recent study conducted by Dornyei and Katona (1993).

The Dornyei and Katona (1993) study involved subjects who exhibited language

competence characteristics that are believed to be similar to those of the subjects in

this study. Domyei and Katona (1993) thoroughly analyzed the passages and

discovered substantial evidence in support of the reliability and validity of the C-Test.

The passages were selected in accord with the C-Test construction guidelines

established by Klein-Braley and Raatz (1984). In terms of the appropriateness of the

difficulty level of the C-Test passages utilized in this study, they were selected from

the Domyei and Katona (1993) study and are in accord with the guidelines. For

example, in order to achieve an appropriate overall level of difficulty, Klein-Braley

and Raatz (1984) recommend the first passage be very easy and that the difficulty

should increase with each subsequent passage. It should be noted, however, that it has

been repeatedly shown that "even tests which are far too difficult or far too easy for

the target group will still produce acceptable reliability and validity coefficients"

(Klein-Braley & Raatz, 1984, p. 140).

In discussing the characteristics of a good test, Harris (1969) argues "all good

tests possess three qualities: validity, reliability, and practicality" (p. 13). While

stressing the importance of test reliability and validity, Harris (1969) argues that a test,










which may be a highly reliable and valid instrument but is impractical to administer

due to time, money, scoring, or interpretation limitations, may be virtually worthless.

In terms of monetary practicality, it has been argued that the C-Test offers an

economical way of measuring overall language proficiency (Hughes, 1989). Mortality

of subjects due to fatigue and boredom are believed to possess a substantially greater

cost to the validity of the present study than any increase in instrument validity

attainable via selection of other less practical means (e.g., oral interview) of assessing

general language proficiency. Thus, while the C-Test has garnered substantial

evidence in support of its reliability and validity via numerous studies, its selection

was partly based on issues of practicality.

Although previous researchers have consistently reported reliability coefficients

of .80 or above, each C-Test must be tailored to the characteristics of the group being

studied. As a result, reliability coefficients should be generated for each test either ex

post facto or via a pilot study to ensure adequate instrument reliability. The internal

consistency reliability coefficient for the C-Test used in the study was computed to be

.75 (Doryei & Katona, 1993). As a means of confirming adequate reliability for the

C-Test used in this study, a reliability coefficient was computed for the French and

English versions of the C-Test (.65 and .57 respectively) based upon the data collected

and assessed per established guidelines found in the literature. Such guidelines call

for the computation of a Cronbach alpha coefficient while treating each passage in the

C-Test as a separate super-item. The treatment of each passage as a super-item is

required due to the interdependence of C-Test items (Klein-Braley & Raatz, 1984).










Finally, it should be noted that, "in general even previously untried material has

produced satisfactory reliability and validity coefficients" (Klein-Braley & Raatz, 1984,

p. 144).

Validity coefficients computed for C-Tests have ranged from .5 to .7 in many

of the studies reported in the literature. Dornyei and Katona (1993) utilized

correlation and factor analyses on several criterion measures including a

departmentally developed proficiency test, the Test of English for International

Communication (TOEIC), and an oral interview. The results of the analyses showed

the C-Test to have "highly sufficient positive correlations in all the composite

language proficiency measures (General Language Proficiency, Department Proficiency

Test Total and TOEIC Total), and [it] has significant positive correlations with all the

language tests" (Dornyei & Katona, 1993, p. 191). Dornyei and Katona (1993) further

concluded that the C-Test is "a highly integrative language test which measures global

language proficiency" (p. 191). Interpretations of validity research, based in part on

the observation that C-Test scores increase regularly and predictably with an

individual's native language ability, further support the notion of the C-Test being a

measure of overall language proficiency (Chapelle & Abraham, 1990). In perhaps the

most comprehensive discussion of C-Test validity, Klein-Braley (1985) has presented

C-Test validity evidence based both on theoretical and empirical grounds. According

to Klein-Braley (1985), Chomsky's (1975) concepts of competence and performance

represent the starting point for the theoretical basis of the C-Test's construct validity.

"Competence is to be viewed as an abstract system of rules internalized in the










language used (the grammar); performance is the rule system in action, used for

communication" (Klein-Braley, 1985, p. 78). Klein-Braley (1985) also establishes

further empirical and theoretical underpinnings based on Oller's (1973) pragmatic

expectancy grammar, the expected increase of C-Test scores with age, and the high

intercorrelations among C-Tests. Lastly, the appropriateness of the C-Test in the

context of the study finds further support in the notion that the C-Test measures

language competence via sub-skills that are in agreement with Cummins'

conceptualization of language proficiency. As such, the C-Test better probes a wider

spectrum of sub-skills including the cognitive demand dimension of Cummins'

conceptualization of language proficiency. Overall, "the C-Test has been shown to be

both empirically and theoretically valid" (Klein-Braley & Raatz, 1984, p. 144).

Each of the subjects assessed in this study was required to complete both

versions of the C-Test (Appendix 2). The C-Test was administered in the following

sequence: administration of less dominant language C-Test passages followed by

administration of the dominant language C-Test passages. Scoring the C-Test is a

relatively easy process consisting of computing the sum of items correctly

reconstructed by the subject for the passages that make up the C-Test. The

determination of a subject's first (L,) and second (L2) languages was based upon the

scores obtained by each subject in both versions of the C-Test. A subject's L, was

considered that language corresponding to the version of the C-Test for which they

received a higher score. Consequently, a subjects' L, was considered that language

corresponding to the version of the C-Test for which they received the lower score. In










the event the subject obtained the same score on both versions of the C-Test, L, will

default to English and L will default to French in accord with the majority language

of the population from which the samples were drawn.



Demographic Data Questionnaire

Each of the subjects assessed in this study was required to complete the

Demographic Data Questionnaire (Appendix 1). Subjects were given sufficient time to

complete the instrument. Responses to questions on this instrument provided basic

subject identification data consisting of a randomly assigned student identification

number reported by the subjects on all instruments during the data collection activities.

In addition to age and grade point average data, the responses to questions regarding

subject and family education, employment, and income level enabled determination of

the subjects' relative socioeconomic status. Evidence for content validity was obtained

through a review of the literature. The review yielded an identification of variables

found to be significantly correlated with the dependent constructs that, if left

unmeasured and uncontrolled, would likely confound the relationships being studied.

These variables include grade point average (GPA), age, socioeconomic status, and

first language proficiency. The socioeconomic status of each subject was computed by

assigning the following weights to each item response (i.e., a = 0, b = 1, c= 2, d = 3),

and summing together the responses to the socioeconomic status items (i.e., items 4

through 11) to form an overall socioeconomic status score ranging from zero--

indicating a low socioeconomic status, to 24--indicating a high socioeconomic status.









California Critical Thinking Skills Test

For years the critical thinking construct has been variously defined and

generally measured in the research via the use of the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking

Appraisal. In 1990, however, the results of what may be considered a milestone study

aimed at formulating a consensus definition for the construct were published in what

has come to be referred to as "The APA [American Philisophical Association] Delphi

Report" (Facione, 1990). "The APA Delphi consensus conceptualization of critical

thinking is an historically important benchmark" (Facione & Facione, 1994, p. 16).

Perhaps the most significant result of the study was the derivation of a single

consensus definition of critical thinking by experts in the field. The consensus

definition has resulted in the development of an instrument that measures this most

widely accepted conceptualization of critical thinking. It is important to note that the

expression of the critical thinking definition was made without the constraints of

accreditation or legislation, and was based on the participation of 46 leading theorists,

teachers, and critical thinking assessment specialists from several disciplines (Facione,

1990). As no small task, Facione (1990) managed to make a significant contribution

to the conceptualization and subsequently to the measurement of critical thinking. The

California Critical Thinking Skills Test, published by the California Academic Press in

concert with Facione, provides a composite score made up of sub-scores in each of the

following five cognitive skills: analysis, inference, evaluation, inductive reasoning, and

deductive reasoning. Items contained in the test are drawn from a pool of 200 items

that were developed in a 20 year research program aimed at validly and reliably










testing critical thinking. Items selected for inclusion in the test cover the domain of

the five cognitive skills that have been identified via the consensus definition of

critical thinking. Pool items are discipline neutral in order not to prefer persons with

specialized knowledge. Sex-role and social class stereotype contexts have been

avoided; and equal numbers of male and female referents are used to further decrease

gender and cultural test bias. The format of the test consists of 34 multiple-choice

questions (Facione & Facione, 1994).

Internal consistency reliability (i.e., KR-20) of Form A of the test is .70 and

that of Form B is .71. Although it is possible to increase reliability by increasing the

test length, the publishers chose not to do so since it would take longer than a class

period to complete and increasing the length may actually decrease :iC.ihill,, as the

test is mentally demanding and error due to fatigue would be increased.

Construct validity evidence exists in numerous forms. Evidence of the face

validity of the instrument has been attained from anecdotal information from college

students exiting administrations of the test, and by faculty committees who have

recommended adoption of the test for use in their institutions, various curricular

research projects, and dissertation studies. Although assessment methodology remains

a topic of mild controversy, most critical thinking experts agree that critical thinking

skills can be validly and reliably assessed via multiple choice items. Thus the

instrument provides for a sensible measure of the construct. In addition, construct

validity is further supported via quasi-experimental studies that have been conducted to

provide quantitative evidence of the tests ability to assess the appropriate targeted










phenomenon. These studies have shown significant pretest posttest gains for

experimental but not control groups in studies that examined the effects of critical

thinking instruction and that involved 1169 college students, five courses, 20

instructors, and 4 sections (Facione & Facione, 1994). Construct validation is of

course a never ending process and efforts to provide further evidence are ongoing.

Overall, construct validity for the test is greater than that of any other available for the

construct of critical thinking as defined in the study. This is due to the fact that the

test is the first and only instrument to derive its "construct validity from the APA

Delphi Report conceptualization" (Facione & Facione, 1994, p. 16). In terms of

concurrent validity, studies correlating the test "with other commercially available

critical thinking tests and with observed classroom performance are in progress" (p.

18). However, in addition to a 1989/90 validation study of the test, "an independent

1992 research project found the test correlates with college level GPA, and with

Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) verbal and SAT math scores" (p. 18). According to

Facione, and Facione (1994), "Theoretically one would expect that students who

experience a higher level of college success will enjoy some of that success in

virtue of their ability at critical thinking" (p. 18).

Each of the subjects assessed in this study was required to complete the

California Critical Thinking Skills Test. The test was administered and scored in strict

agreement with the procedures published in the test manual.










California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory

Facione's (1990) publication of the APA Delphi Report made possible the

development of an instrument to measure critical thinking dispositions. Entitled the

California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory, the instrument provides a

composite score made up of sub-scores for each of the following seven dispositions:

truth-seeking, inquisitiveness, open-mindedness, confidence, analyticity, systematicity,

and maturity. Items selected for inclusion in the test cover the domain of the seven

dispositions that were reduced from the nineteen descriptive phrases of an ideal critical

thinker identified in the consensus definition of critical thinking. The seven scales of

the inventory are composed of nine to twelve items interspersed throughout the

instrument. To decrease the likelihood of subjects giving socially desirable responses,

the items are interspersed and the names of the seven scales are not revealed in the

instrument, nor is the name of the instrument itself or its connection to critical

thinking. The format of the test consists of 75 six-point Likert scale (i.e., agree-

disagree) response items (Facione, Facione & Sanchez, 1994a).

Internal consistency reliability (i.e., Cronbach's alpha) of the inventory based

upon a pilot test and several other administrations of the published version of the

inventory consistently yielded a reliability index of .90 or above on the overall

composite score (Facione, Facione & Sanchez, 1994a).

As the inventory is the first of its kind to be based on the 1990 consensus

conceptualization of critical thinking dispositions, evidence of its validity continues to

be gathered. However, similar to what has been argued in support of the validity of










the California Critical Thinking Skills Test, the inventory is the first and only

instrument to derive its construct validity from the APA Delphi Report

conceptualization (Facione, Facione & Sanchez, 1994a). Numerous college instructors

have indicated their agreement with the appropriateness of the prompts, thus providing

some measure of face validity. Both convergent and divergent validity research is

currently ongoing with emphasis on "exploring the possible correlations of the CCTDI

scores or its scale scores with other psychometric instruments of known reliability and

validity in measuring similar constructs" (Facione, Facione & Sanchez, 1994a, p. 7).

Each of the subjects assessed in this study were required to complete the

California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory. Subjects were permitted to select

either the English or French equivalent version of the test. The test was administered

and scored in strict agreement with the procedures published in the test manual.



Data Collection

The convenience sample was drawn from four different sites and measured

through the administration of the following instruments in the order presented:

demographic characteristics via the Demographic Data Questionnaire, critical thinking

disposition via the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory, language

proficiency in each of English and French via the administration of the minor language

version followed by the dominant language version of the C-Test, and critical thinking

ability via the California Critical Thinking Skills Test. Each of the instruments were

administered in strict agreement with published test manual guidelines. Data










collection sessions were scheduled to be completed within a single time block

established to maximize volunteerism and responsiveness while minimizing fatigue and

boredom threats contributing to subject mortality.



Data Analysis

For purposes of statistical inference regarding the existence of relationships

among bilingualism, critical thinking ability, and critical thinking disposition, the

following research hypotheses were addressed:

1. Is there a statistically significant curvilinear relationship between

bilingualism and critical thinking ability?

2. Is there a statistically significant curvilinear relationship between

bilingualism and critical thinking disposition?

3. Is there a statistically significant relationship between critical thinking

ability and critical thinking disposition?

Each of the research questions was addressed via the test of null hypotheses

each of which postulates the absence of a significant relationship between the two

variables in question. As a means of measuring the degree of bilingualism each

subject attained, the method recommended by Hakuta and Diaz (1985) was utilized.

According to Hakuta and Diaz (1985), "variation in L, controlling for variation in L, is

attributable to the degree of bilingualism, and this variation should be related in a

positive way to cognitive ability" (p. 331). Hakuta and Diaz (1985) further argue for

the appropriateness of the multiple regression analysis approach in studies examining








58

the relationship between bilingualism and various cognitive functions. Thus multiple

regression analysis was used to test each of the hypotheses. Computation of

appropriate squared semi-partial correlations (R2,i) was also performed to aid in

determination of the practical significance of the findings. In this way, statistically

significant semi-partial correlations between the dependent measure and the

corresponding independent measures being examined by each of the research questions

may be viewed as sufficient evidence supporting a claim for the existence of a

relationship between the two constructs in question. Thus for research question one

(i.e., test for relationship between bilingualism and critical thinking ability) the

following multiple regression model was utilized to test the statistical significance of

the relationship.


C.T. Ability = L, + GPA + Age + SES + Gender + C.T. Disp. + L2 + (L2)2


Similarly, research question two (i.e., test for relationship between bilingualism and

critical thinking disposition) was addressed via testing the statistical significance of the

semi-partial correlation between bilingualism and critical thinking disposition as

expressed in the following multiple regression model.


C.T. Disp. = L, + GPA + Age + SES + Gender + L2 + (L)2










Finally, research question three (i.e., test for relationship between critical thinking

disposition and critical thinking ability) will be addressed via testing the statistical

significance of the semi-partial correlation between critical thinking ability and critical

thinking disposition as expressed in the following multiple regression model.


C.T. Abil. = L, + GPA + Age + SES + Gender + L2 + (L2)2 + C.T. Disp.


Summary

In summary, the study can best be characterized as a cross-sectional pooled

within-bilingual correlational design. Data was collected from a convenience sample

of baccalaureate nursing students enrolled in major public universities' colleges of

nursing that were expected to have a relatively high proportion of students being

characterized by varying degrees of bilingual proficiency. Instruments utilized to

collect the required data included English and French versions of the C-Test,

California Critical Thinking Skills Test, California Critical Thinking Disposition

Inventory, and a investigator designed demographic data questionnaire. Analysis of

the data was conducted using standard multiple regression techniques to determine the

statistical significance of the relationships among bilingualism, critical thinking ability,

and critical thinking disposition of the population being studied.













CHAPTER 4
FINDINGS

Introduction

This study was designed to determine if relationships exist among bilingualism,

critical thinking ability, and the critical thinking disposition of baccalaureate nursing

students. The purpose of this chapter is to report the findings of the study. This

chapter also contains a description of the setting and subjects, the demographic

characteristics of the subjects, descriptive statistics on subject performance on each of

the instruments utilized in the study, and inferential statistics utilized in answering

each of the research questions aimed at addressing the problem. The research

questions posed consist of the following:

1. Is there a statistically significant curvilinear relationship between

bilingualism and critical thinking ability?

2. Is there a statistically significant curvilinear relationship between

bilingualism and critical thinking disposition?

3. Is there a statistically significant relationship between critical thinking

ability and critical thinking disposition?










Setting and Subjects

Data were collected during the spring semester, 1996, from four baccalaureate

schools of nursing in New Brunswick, Canada and Maine, United States of America.

These schools serve student populations determined through earlier communications to

be characterized by varying degrees of bilingual proficiency. The study included 111

subjects as an uncompensated volunteer convenience sample. Table 1 indicates the

frequency distribution of the sample by school. Although between-group analysis was

not originally planned, dummy coding of the subjects' school was employed in the

multiple regression analysis as a means of controlling potentially confounding group

differences particularly in light of the nonrandom selection of participating schools.

Table 1

Frequency Distribution of Sample by School


School Frequency Percentage
1 7 6.3
2 48 43.2
3 18 16.2
4 38 34.3

n= ll

Demographic Characteristics of Sample

All students who volunteered to participate in the study were enrolled in a

baccalaureate nursing program at one of the participating schools. Demographic data

were collected with the investigator-designed demographic data instrument. These










data include the subjects' gender, age, cumulative grade point average, and socio-

economic factors that subsequently were used to determine socio-economic status.



Gender and Age

Female students comprised the greatest percentage of the sample (82.9%; n =

92), while male students comprised only 17.1% (n = 19). Subject age ranged from 17

years to 50 years, with the mean age being 23.80 years and the standard deviation

being 6.82.



Cumulative Grade Point Average and Socio-economic status

Subjects' cumulative grade point average (CGPA) ranged from 1.3 to 4.0 on a

4.0 scale with the mean CGPA being 2.98 and the standard deviation being .57.

Subjects' socio-economic status (SES) ranged from 3.0 to 20.0 on a 24.0 scale with

the mean SES being 9.37 and the standard deviation being 3.01.

Table 2 indicates the frequency distribution of the subjects by gender.

Table 2

Frequency Distribution of Sample by Gender


Gender Frequency Percentage
Female 92 82.9
Male 19 17.1

n= 111










Table 3 summarizes the remaining demographic characteristics of the study

sample.

Table 3

Demographic Characteristics of Sample


Characteristic n Maximum Range Mean SD
Possible

Age 111 17-50 23.80 6.82
Cumulative Grade Point Average 111 4.0 1.3-4.0 2.98 .57
(CGPA)
Socio-economic status (SES) 111 24.0 3.0-20.0 9.37 3.01




Subject Performance on Research Instruments

All students who volunteered to participate in the study were asked to complete

four test instruments in addition to the investigator-designed demographic data

instrument. Data were collected with two investigator-designed language proficiency

instruments (French language C-Test, English language C-Test), the California Critical

Thinking Skills Test, and the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory.



French Language C-Test

The investigator designed French Language C-Test was used to measure French

language proficiency. Scores ranged from 0 to 66 on a 67 point scale with the mean

French language C-Test score being 39.04 and the standard deviation being 23.17.










English Language C-Test

The investigator designed English Language C-Test was used to measure

English language proficiency. Scores ranged from 15 to 61 on a 63 point scale with

the mean English language C-Test score being 48.90 and the standard deviation being

8.59.



California Critical Thinking Skills Test

The California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST) was used to measure

critical thinking ability. Scores ranged from 2 to 23 on a 34 point scale with the mean

CCTST score being 12.44 and the standard deviation being 4.37.



California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory

The California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory (CCTDI) was used to

measure critical thinking disposition. Scores ranged from 241 to 364 on a 420 point

scale with the mean CCTDI score being 309.86 and the standard deviation being

25.05.

Subject performance on each of the test instruments is summarized in Table 4.



Analysis of Data

All data were analyzed using the Statistical Analysis System release 6.07 (SAS,

1989). The mainframe computer facilities at the University of Maine were used for

numerical processing. Simple descriptive statistics were computed to describe the








65

characteristics of the sample and performance on test instruments. Multiple regression

analysis was used to test for statistically significant relationships among the constructs

in question while controlling for the influence of all other study variables.

Table 4

Subject Performance on Test Instruments


Instrument n Maximum Range Mean SD
Possible

C-Test English 111 63 15-61 48.90 8.59
C-Test French 111 67 0-66 39.04 23.17
Critical Thinking Ability 111 34 2-23 12.44 4.37
Critical Thinking Disposition 111 420 241-364 309.86 25.05


As a result of the preliminary analysis of the data, three cases' data were

identified as outliers and subsequently excluded from the inferential analysis portion of

the study. Multiple regression analysis was performed on a sample of n = 108.

Prior to conducting the inferential analysis related to research hypotheses,

additional consideration of potential confounds to the analysis was conducted. Since

the subjects represented a convenience sample drawn from four different schools, a

decision was made to supplement the multiple regression analysis model through the

addition of three dummy coding (indicator) variables. Following the recommended

practices presented by Cohen and Cohen (1983), dummy coding variables were added

to account for potentially significant school-oriented subject differences that could

confound the analysis of the relationships in question. Only three variables were used

since only three are required for exhaustive classification of the four schools. Through










addition of the dummy coding variables to the model, subject differences that may

have existed between schools could be controlled and eliminated as potential

confounds to the analysis of the key relationships examined. Subsequent review of the

analysis findings revealed sufficient evidence to support the notion of the existence of

significant overall group mean differences for scores on the California Critical

Thinking Skills Test (F(3,96) = 6.6515) whereas there did not exist sufficient evidence

to support the postulated existence of significant overall group mean differences for

scores on the California Critical Thinking Dispositions Inventory (F(3,96) = 0.567).



Tests of Hypotheses

The findings related to each of the three research questions are presented. An

alpha level was established at a = .05 and utilized in all inferential analyses except

where otherwise indicated. Multiple regression analysis was conducted and based on

recommended practices presented by both Hakuta and Diaz (1985), and Cohen and

Cohen (1983). Hakuta and Diaz's (1985) statistical analysis recommendations are

quite conservative in that for each of the relationships being examined they are tested

apart from confounding influence of all other potentially significant effects.



Research Question #1

Research question one asked: Is there a statistically significant curvilinear

relationship between bilingualism and critical thinking ability? For the purpose of

answering this question through statistical inference the following null hypothesis was









established. Baccalaureate nursing students' scores on their weaker language (1.) C-

Test are not related to their scores on the California Critical Thinking Skills Test

(CCTST).




where: y = CCTST score (critical thinking ability)
xi = squared second language (L2) score
(bilingual proficiency)
x, ... x, = all other factors in model


HAI,: P. >0


This null hypothesis was tested via application of the multiple regression analysis

technique. All assumptions corresponding to this parametric technique were tested to

confirm they were being met. Subject scores on the California Critical Thinking Skills

Test were identified in the multiple regression model as the dependent variable.

Independent factors entered into the model included the subjects' gender, age,

cumulative grade point average, socio-economic status, first language (L,) score, score

on the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory, second language (L2) score,

and the square of the second language (1,2) score. In addition, the three dummy

coding variables were added to the model as independent variables. The square of the

second (1,) language score was added to the model in order to directly test whether

the relationship was polynomial as predicted by Cummins' (1979a) threshold

hypothesis. Given the directional nature of the alternative hypothesis an alpha level

was established at a = .10 and utilized in the inferential analyses that included









confirmation of the existence of matching signs for the resulting and hypothesized

coefficient values. The squared semi-partial correlation between the subjects' score on

the California Critical Thinking Skills Test and the subjects' squared second language

(L2) score (r2y(xl.,. x8) = .0097) was found not to be significantly different from zero (t

= 1.211, p < 0.2287) and the null hypothesis was not rejected. Based upon there not

existing sufficient evidence to reject the null hypothesis, a statistically significant

curvilinear relationship is not believed to exist between the bilingualism and the

critical thinking ability of baccalaureate nursing students in this study.



Research Question #2

Research question two asked: Is there a statistically significant curvilinear

relationship between bilingualism and critical thinking disposition? For the purpose of

answering this question through statistical inference, the following null hypothesis was

established. Baccalaureate nursing students' scores on their weaker language (L2) C-

Test are not related to their scores on the California Critical Thinking Disposition

Inventory (CCTDI).


A-02: l .... =2 0

where: y = CCTDI score (critical thinking disposition)
x, = squared second language (L,) score
(bilingual proficiency)
x, ... x, = all other factors in model


HA2: P2 ..x0)> 0










This null hypothesis was tested via application of the multiple regression analysis

technique. All assumptions corresponding to this parametric technique were tested to

confirm that they were being met. Subject scores on the California Critical Thinking

Disposition Inventory were identified in the multiple regression model as the

dependent variable. Independent factors entered into the model included the subjects'

gender, age, cumulative grade point average, socio-economic status, first language (L,)

score, second language (L2) score, and the square of the second language (L2) score.

In addition, the three dummy coding variables were added to the model as independent

variables. The square of the second (12) language score was added to the model in

order to directly test whether the relationship was polynomial as predicted by

Cummins' (1979a) threshold hypothesis. Given the directional nature of the

alternative hypothesis, an alpha level was established at a = .10 and utilized in the

inferential analyses that included confirmation of the existence of matching signs for

the resulting and hypothesized coefficient values. The squared semi-partial correlation

between the subjects' scores on the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory

and the subjects' squared second language (L2) scores (r2 y(.2...x 7) = .0279) was found

to be significantly different from zero (t = 1.997, p < 0.0486) and the null hypothesis

was rejected. Based upon there being sufficient evidence to reject the null hypothesis

a statistically significant curvilinear relationship is believed to exist between the

bilingualism and the critical thinking disposition of the baccalaureate nursing students

in this study.









Research Question #3

Research question three asked: Is there a statistically significant relationship

between critical thinking ability and critical thinking disposition? For the purpose of

answering this question through statistical inference the following null hypothesis was

established. Baccalaureate nursing students' scores on the California Critical Thinking

Skills Test (CCTST) are not related to their scores on the California Critical Thinking

Disposition Inventory (CCTDI).


Ho,: P*,... .) = 0

where: y = CCTST score (critical thinking ability)
xi = CCTDI score (critical thinking disposition)
x ... x = all other factors in model





This null hypothesis was tested via application of the multiple regression analysis

technique. All assumptions corresponding to this parametric technique were tested to

confirm that they were being met. Subject scores on the California Critical Thinking

Skills Test were identified in the multiple regression model as the dependent variable.

Independent factors that entered into the model included the subjects' gender, age,

cumulative grade point average, socio-economic status, first language (L,) score, score

on the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory, second language (L2) score,

and the square of the second language (L2) score. In addition, the three dummy

coding variables were added to the model as independent variables. The square of the

second (L2) language score was added to the model in order to account for the









polynomial relationships between both bilingualism and critical thinking ability, and

between bilingualism and critical thinking disposition as predicted by Cummins'

(1979a) threshold hypothesis. The squared semi-partial correlation between the

subjects' score on the California Critical Thinking Skills Test and the subjects' score

on the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory (r2yx.x2, xs) = .0046) was

found to be not significantly different from zero (t = 0.837, p < .4047) and the null

hypothesis was not rejected. Based upon there not existing sufficient evidence to

reject the null hypothesis a statistically significant relationship is not believed to exist

between the critical thinking ability and the critical thinking disposition of

baccalaureate nursing students in this study.

Table 5 summarizes the results of the statistical tests of hypotheses.

Table 5

Statistical Tests of Hypotheses


Hypothesis n t P 2 Decision

Ho, 108 1.211 .2287 .0097 Not rejected
Ho2 108 1.997 .0486 .0279 Rejected
Ho3 108 0.837 .4047 .0046 Not rejected










Supplemental Analyses

Inferential analysis conducted to address the research questions also produced

results that provided sufficient evidence to support the existence of a positive

relationship between subject age and score on the California Critical Thinking

Disposition Inventory (t = 2.610, E < 0.0105). Similarly, the results also provided

sufficient evidence to support the existence of a positive relationship between subject

cumulative grade point average and score on the California Critical Thinking

Disposition Inventory (t = 2.141, p < 0.0348). Finally, the results provided sufficient

evidence to support the existence of a positive relationship between subject primary

language (L,) score and both their score on the California Critical Thinking

Disposition Inventory (t = 2.955, p < 0.0039) and their score on the California Critical

Thinking Skills Test (t = 2.082, p < 0.0400). Although these findings were not of

primary interest, they were considered relevant given the nature of the study.







73

Summary

In summary, descriptive analysis of the data revealed a sample of students with

a wide range of demographic characteristics. Inferential analysis was conducted

through the use of the multiple regression technique based on recommended practices

presented by Hakuta and Diaz (1985), and Cohen and Cohen (1983). The results of

the statistical analysis for this sample revealed sufficient evidence supporting a

statistically significant relationship between bilingualism and critical thinking

disposition in baccalaureate nursing students, but not sufficient evidence to support a

statistically significant relationship between either bilingualism and critical thinking

ability or between critical thinking disposition and critical thinking ability of

baccalaureate nursing students.













CHAPTER 5
SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION

Overview

This chapter summarizes the purpose of the study including a description of the

research problem and method, the sample and method of analysis, and the results as

they relate to each research question and corresponding null hypotheses. Each

research question is addressed in turn with a summary of the findings being presented.

The findings are discussed as they relate to the theories of Cummins (1979a), Whorf

(1956) and Vygotsky (1934/1962) as well as to past research. Finally limitations and

implications for educational practice are presented as well as recommendations for

further research.



Summary of Research Problem and Method

This study addressed.was designed to determine the existence of relationships

among bilingualism, critical thinking ability, and the critical thinking disposition of

baccalaureate nursing students. The research questions posed consist of the following:

1. Is there a statistically significant curvilinear relationship between

bilingualism and critical thinking ability?

2. Is there a statistically significant curvilinear relationship between

bilingualism and critical thinking disposition?










3. Is there a statistically significant relationship between critical thinking

ability and critical thinking disposition?

The research design employed to address these questions was a cross-sectional

pooled within bilingual correlational design. This design was employed specifically as

a means of addressing the increasingly widely recognized methodological weaknesses

of many of the past studies examining the cognitive effects of bilingualism (Cummins,

1979b; Diaz, 1985; Hakuta, 1986; Hakuta & Diaz, 1985; MacNab, 1979; Reynolds

1991). These studies have typically compared monolingual with bilingual group

performance on various cognitive measures. As subjects involved in such studies were

not randomly assigned to monolingual and bilingual upbringings and subsequently not

randomly assigned to control (monolingual) and treatment (bilingual) groups, a

substantial confounding influence was left uncontrolled, thereby introducing a

significant threat to their internal validity. Many of the same studies have also been

criticized for failing to control the confounding influences of other factors (e.g., socio-

economic status) that have been shown to significantly differentiate the two groups

and, when left uncontrolled, further reduce their internal validity. In addition, such

studies have typically focused exclusively on balanced bilingual populations that are

characterized as exhibiting balanced proficiency in each language and as a result have

yielded findings that are far less generalizable. Finally, many of the studies have been

criticized for inferring bilingualism as a causal factor. Specifically, such studies tend

to view bilingualism as playing the causal role in the relationship between bilingualism

and various cognitive factors. Lacking appropriate controls and having failed to










employ a longitudinal design renders many of the causal inferences unsubstantiated.

To address such methodological weaknesses the study employed a pooled within

bilingual correlational design with inferential statistics generated through the use of

multiple regression analysis in accord with the recommended practices presented by

Hakuta and Diaz (1985), and Cohen and Cohen (1983).

In the spring of 1996, a convenience sample consisting of 111 baccalaureate

nursing students enrolled in four baccalaureate nursing degree programs being offered

in New Brunswick, Canada and the state of Maine, U.S.A. participated as

uncompensated volunteers in the study. The subjects were asked to complete the

following five research instruments: a demographic data instrument, a French

language C-Test, an English language C-Test, the California Critical Thinking

Disposition Inventory, and the California Critical Thinking Skills Test. Descriptive

statistics were generated from the data collected and used to describe the sample.

Multiple regression analysis was employed to generate inferential statistics that in turn

provided or failed to provide sufficient evidence to support the existence of each of

the relationships in question. Multiple regression analysis as well as the choice of a

pooled within bilingual correlation design was based upon recent literature identifying

both the technique and design as superior to those employed in past bilingualism

research (Diaz, 1985; Hakuta & Diaz, 1985; Hakuta, 1986; Reynolds, 1991).









Interpretation of Results

Three research questions posed to address the problem of the study were

addressed via statistical inference tests conducted on corresponding null hypotheses.

Each question will in turn be discussed as the findings relate to the empirical and

theoretical basis of the study.



Research Question 1

The first research question, "Is there a statistically significant curvilinear

relationship between bilingualism and critical thinking ability?" led to the following

null hypothesis that was tested via computation of inferential statistics:

H01: po 0

where: y = CCTST score (critical thinking ability)
xi = squared second language (L2) score
(bilingual proficiency)
x, ... x, = all other factors in model
A: ,...P1 >0


The findings failed to provide sufficient evidence to reject the null hypothesis

and therefore it was concluded that there does not exist a statistically significant

curvilinear relationship between bilingualism and critical thinking ability in

baccalaureate nursing students.

The findings contradict those of Duncan and DeAvila (1979) who found a

positive relationship between bilingualism and a field independent cognitive style, Bain

(1974) and Liedtke and Nelson (1968) who found positive relationships between







78

bilingualism and concept formation, and Cummins (1978), Feldman and Shen (1971),

and lanco-Worrall (1972) who found positive relationships between bilingualism and

metalinguistic awareness. One possible explanation for the failure to uncover

sufficient evidence to support the existence of the relationship may be found in the

constitutive and operational definitions of the critical thinking ability construct

employed in the study. Although the formulation of a consensus conceptualization of

the critical thinking construct and the recent availability of an instrument to measure it

have significantly contributed to the research potential, the paucity of studies that have

employed the consensus conceptualization and operationalization of the construct

hinders attempts to conduct comparisons with the empirical research data base. This

empirical data base includes findings supportive of positive relationships between

bilingualism and concept formation, a field independent cognitive style, and

metalinguistic awareness. Such findings were identified as providing support for the

existence of the relationship between bilingualism and critical thinking ability

inasmuch as they independently contributed to the consensus conceptualization of the

critical thinking ability construct as defined in the study. Although the consensus

definition is based in part upon such closely aligned factors, it--by the nature of being

a consensus conceptualization--naturally includes other factors as well. It may be that

the richness of the critical thinking construct and operationalization of it as a single

score in the study, thus reflecting a more global measure of many constituent factors

of which concept formation, a field independent cognitive style and metalinguistic

awareness are closely aligned, actually conceals the existence of significant curvilinear










relationships between bilingualism and one or more of the constituent factors. It is

therefore possible that the relationship between bilingualism and one or more of the

constituent factors of critical thinking may be sufficiently supported by such findings

but that the relationship between bilingualism and the more globally defined ability to

think critically not be sufficiently supported.

In terms of the relationship between the findings and the theoretical

underpinnings of the study, it is clear that the failure to uncover sufficient evidence to

support the existence of a significant curvilinear relationship existing between

bilingualism and critical thinking ability also fails to support the theories of Whorf

(1956) and Vygotsky (1934/1962) and Cummins' (1979a) threshold hypothesis. More

specifically, the weak form of Whorf's (1956) linguistic determinism theory that

postulates the possibility that one's thought processes have a tendency to operate along

different lines defined by their language and as such likely provide a bilingual a wider

range of thought failed to receive support based on the findings of the study.

Likewise, Vygotsky's (1934/1962) theory of the development of metalinguistic

awareness as a result of the transition from social speech to egocentric speech failed

to receive support based on the findings of the study. Cummins' (1979a) threshold

hypothesis that was identified as the theoretical framework with which to examine the

relationship between bilingualism and critical thinking ability in the study also failed

to receive support. Specifically, the findings failed to provide sufficient evidence to

support the existence of either a linear or polynomial relationship between the two

constructs.










Findings corresponding to supplementary analysis did provide support to the

existence of a significant relationship between first language (L,) ability and critical

thinking ability. This finding, although failing to support the theories of either Whorf

(1956), Vygotsky (1934/1962), or Cummins (1976) does nevertheless lend some

degree of support to the less well empirically established argument of Follman (1993).

Follman (1993) has argued that "... critical thinking probably does not exist as a

psychometrically established, unique construct separate from verbal ability" (p. 74).

First language (L,) was employed in the study solely as a means of controlling the

confounding influence of general verbal ability on the examination of the relationship

between bilingualism and critical thinking ability.



Research Question 2

The second research question, "Is there a statistically significant curvilinear

relationship between bilingualism and critical thinking disposition?" led to the

following null hypothesis that was tested via computation of inferential statistics:

H.2: P .-' ..., = 0

where: y = CCTDI score (critical thinking disposition)
x1 = squared second language (L) score
(bilingual proficiency)
x,... x, = all other factors in model
HA,2: P ,....,) > 0


The findings provided sufficient evidence to reject the null hypothesis;

therefore, it was concluded that there does exist a statistically significant curvilinear










relationship between bilingualism and critical thinking disposition in baccalaureate

nursing students.

These findings are consistent with those of Carringer (1974), Landry (1974),

and Torrance, Gowan, Wu, and Aliotti (1970) that revealed significant relationships

between bilingualism and divergent thinking skills, one of the key factors of the

disposition to think critically. These findings are also consistent with those of Balkan

(1970), Ben-Zeev (1977), Landry (1974), and Peal and Lambert (1962) that revealed

significant relationships between bilingualism and cognitive flexibility, another key

factor of the disposition to think critically.

It is clear that finding sufficient evidence to support the existence of a

significant curvilinear relationship between bilingualism and critical thinking

disposition supports the theories of Whorf (1956) and Cummins (1976). In terms of

Whorf's (1956) linguistic relativism theory, the findings clearly lend greater support to

the weak form of the theory in that language does not solely determine thought but

instead contributes to shaping thought. It may be that the contribution of bilingualism

to shaping thought is oriented primarily to shaping one's affect. It is important not to

infer bilingualism as the causal factor in such a relationship however. In terms of the

findings providing support to Cummins' (1979a) threshold hypothesis, it is essential to

note that the relationship uncovered is perhaps best described as polynomial. The

model employed in the analysis explored the existence of a polynomial relationship in

that the relationship between degree of bilingualism and critical thinking disposition










was negative for lower levels of bilingualism and positive for higher levels of

bilingualism. Cummins' (1979a) threshold hypothesis postulates the following:

The attainment of a lower threshold level of bilingual competence would
be sufficient to avoid any negative cognitive effects; but the attainment
of a second, higher, level of competence might be necessary to lead to
accelerated cognitive growth. (p. 230)

As stated, the Cummins' (1979a) threshold hypothesis does not directly indicate the

existence of a true cup-up polynomial fit of the regression plane to the data but instead

simply indicates two slope transition points. It does however, postulate the cognitive

effects associated with bilingualism to be negative below the lower threshold and

positive above the higher threshold. Figure 3 illustrates the relationship between

bilingualism and cognitive ability postulated by Diaz (1985) as the new threshold

hypothesis in an attempt to reconcile the findings of his study that were inconsistent

with Cummins' (1979a) threshold hypothesis.


(+) unspecified
threshold


: .0
S level






(-)

(-) degree of bilingualism (+)
Figure 3 Relationship between bilingualism and critical
thinking disposition predicted by Diaz's (1985) new
threshold hypothesis.







83

Diaz's (1985) new threshold hypothesis postulates "degree of bilingualism will predict

significant portions of cognitive variance only before a certain level of second-

language proficiency has been achieved" (p. 1386). In elaborating further on his new

threshold hypothesis, Diaz (1985) depicted the relationship as it appears in figure 3.

Finally, figure 4 illustrates the relationship between bilingualism and critical thinking

disposition supported by the findings of the present study.

unspecified unspecified
(+) lower upper
threshold threshold
D level level

Is \I





(-) degree of bilingualism (+)

Figure 4 Relationship between bilingualism and critical
thinking disposition as predicted by findings of
present study.


The relationship uncovered in the study supports the existence of a negative

relationship between low levels of bilingualism and critical thinking disposition and a

positive relationship between high levels of bilingualism and critical thinking

disposition as predicted by Cummins' (1979a) threshold hypothesis. The findings

clearly provide support to Cummins' (1979a) threshold hypothesis and simultaneously

provide opposition to Diaz's (1985) new threshold hypothesis.










Research Question 3

The third research question, "Is there a statistically significant relationship

between critical thinking ability and critical thinking disposition?" led to the following

null hypothesis that was tested via computation of inferential statistics:

Ho: ... = 0

where: y = CCTST score (critical thinking ability)
x, = CCTDI score (critical thinking disposition)
x, ... x, = all other factors in model

H,,: 'X. ... 0O


The findings failed to provide sufficient evidence to reject the null hypothesis;

therefore, it was concluded that there does not exist a statistically significant

relationship between critical thinking disposition and critical thinking ability in

baccalaureate nursing students.

The findings will now in turn be related to both the empirical and theoretical

underpinnings of the study. The findings contradict those of Berger (1984), that were

identified as lending support to the theory of a relationship existing between critical

thinking disposition and ability via Facione, Facione, and Sanchez's (1994b)

componential description of professional judgment.

In terms of the relationship between the findings and the theoretical

underpinnings of the study, it is clear that the failure to uncover sufficient evidence to

support the existence of a significant relationship between critical thinking disposition

and critical thinking ability also fails to support Lewin's (1935) theory of motivation.










More specifically, the relationship was predicted by the subjects' motivation to

establish equilibrium between the disposition toward and the ability to think critically.

Facione, Facione, and Sanchez (1994a) have argued that the need to establish

equilibrium supports the notion that the relationship is most pronounced when the

individual exhibits high levels both in their disposition toward and in their ability to

think critically. The failure of the findings to provide sufficient support for the

postulated relationship may be due in part to the relatively moderate critical thinking

ability mean score. Facione, Facione and Sanchez (1994a) also argued that motivation

theory supports the notion that until a minimal threshold of critical thinking ability is

attained the relationship may not be apparent. It is therefore possible that the sample

failed to reach the minimal threshold of critical thinking ability required to reveal a

relationship between critical thinking disposition and critical thinking ability.



Supplemental Analyses

Supplementary inferential analysis conducted to confirm the necessity to

appropriately control for concomitant factors that were added to the multiple

regression model revealed findings supporting the existence of the following positive

relationships:

1. Between subject age and critical thinking disposition.

2. Between subject cumulative grade point average and critical thinking

disposition










3. Between subject primary language (L,) and both critical thinking

disposition and critical thinking ability.

These findings support the conclusion that in studies examining the

relationships among bilingualism, critical thinking ability, and critical thinking

disposition it is crucial to control the effects of age, cumulative grade point average, as

well as first language (L,) proficiency. Though there was not sufficient evidence to

support gender and socioeconomic status as significant factors, they were retained in

the model for the purpose of explaining variance that otherwise would have

contributed as unexplained error variance.



Limitations of Study

It is essential to view the results, and implications drawn from this study in

light of its limitations. The following are considered to be limitations of the study.

1. Numerous definitions of the key constructs of bilingualism and critical

thinking ability have been proposed throughout the years. The findings

of this study must therefore be viewed in light of the constitutive and

operational definitions herein specified.

2. Use of a convenience sample limits the generalizability of the findings

across subjects, settings, and times. In addition, since the percentage of

the students eligible to participate in the study who actually participated

differed among the four schools, caution is advised in generalizing the

results across the participating schools.










3. The relationships among bilingualism, critical thinking ability, and

critical thinking disposition are being measured and tested via

correlations. Although correlations may be used to explore cause-and-

effect relationships, the obtained results generally do not lead to strong

conclusions. As Borg and Gall (1989) have pointed out, high

correlation values may be due to the influence of a third variable or an

artifact. Correlation coefficients are best used to measure the degree of

relationship between two variables and to explore possible causal factors

that may be tested at a later time (Borg & Gall, 1989).

4. Findings can be significant in two ways, statistically and practically.

Although statistical significance is assessed through the use of statistical

tests (e.g., t-test), Borg and Gall (1989) have argued "there is no simple

answer to the problem of determining practical significance of research

results" (p. 364). The practical significance of the relationships found

to be statistically significant in the study is based in part upon the

magnitude of the corresponding squared semipartial correlations.

5. Pending replication and extension, these findings should be evaluated

cautiously so that, as Fishman (1977) warns "bilingualism will not be

spuriously oversold now as it was spuriously undersold (or written off)

in the past" (p. 38).

6. Studies based on a relatively small sample size that may be adequate for

analysis purposes, fail to benefit from increased statistical power










corresponding to relatively larger sample sizes. The study necessarily

employs a relatively large number of independent variables in the

analysis and, although the sample size is adequate, a significant increase

in sample size may have increased the statistical power enough for the

findings to provide sufficient evidence in support of the existence of

relationships that otherwise failed to be supported in the study.

7. Subjects involved in this study were tested for proficiency in both

English and French. Replication and extension studies involving

language combinations other than English and French may yield

different results.



Implications for the Field of Education

In addition to the findings supporting or opposing the theories posited by

Cummins (1979a), Vygotsky (1934/1962), and Whorf (1956), a number of implications

for educational practice are evident. Such implications when confirmed through future

research efforts are likely to enhance the practical application of the findings. The

following are considered to be implications most relevant to the field of education.

In terms of implications for educational practice associated with the failure of

the findings to provide sufficient evidence to support the postulated existence of a

significant curvilinear relationship between bilingualism and critical thinking ability, it

may be argued there is no reason to pursue either bilingualism as a predictor of critical

thinking ability or critical thinking ability as a predictor of bilingualism. Likewise, in










terms of implications for educational practice associated with the failure of the

findings to provide sufficient evidence in support of the theory of the existence of a

significant relationship between critical thinking disposition and critical thinking

ability, it may be argued that there is no reason to pursue either critical thinking

disposition as a predictor of critical thinking ability or critical thinking ability as a

predictor of critical thinking disposition.

The findings of the study did provide sufficient evidence in support of the

existence of a significant curvilinear relationship between bilingualism and critical

thinking disposition. This relationship has not been previously demonstrated to exist.

The existence of such a relationship-especially as supported through replication and

extension efforts--will clearly contribute in a practical way to future research efforts

specifically aimed at achieving a better understanding of the cognitive and linguistic

factors contributing to more effective baccalaureate nursing critical thinking

instruction, curricula, and accreditation criteria. The benefits associated with critical

thinking ability are only realized in those who are disposed toward engaging in critical

thinking. Hence, the significance of the practical contribution can perhaps best be

realized through an appreciation of the value our society has placed on the ability to

think critically (Dressel, 1955; National Commission on Excellence in Education,

1983; National Institute of Education, 1984; Newman, 1985). The nursing discipline

in particular has embraced critical thinking ability as a characteristic essential to sound

professional nursing practice. Although the NLN's accreditation criteria for critical

thinking instruction are currently defined in only very general terms, it is likely their




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