Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Baxter, Vern

Second Advisor

Compton, D'Lane

Third Advisor

Gill, Ivan


Since the passage of No Child Left Behind, the output of education has been measured through student achievement on standardized tests. School ratings, student graduation, teacher jobs and school charters are all tied to these tests. This study analyzes the extent to which math and science public high school teachers in New Orleans focus on critical thinking and creativity, skills needed to be successful in the future. Through a framework of Richard Paul’s model of critical thinking and Theresa Amabile’s social psychology of creativity, this study evaluates support for critical thinking and creativity through classroom observations, analysis of instructional materials and teacher interviews. Findings indicate that teachers at academically selective schools are more likely to support critical thinking and creativity in their classrooms than teachers at open enrollment schools. Classroom tests of participating teachers mainly focus on assessing basic knowledge and skills, not critical thinking and creativity.


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