A study of the impact of grade and Piagetian level on ability to make inferences among children in grades five, seven and nine

Date

1976

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Abstract

The study was designed to investigate the impact of Piagetian Developmental level and grade on the ability to make immediate inferences among children in grades five, seven, and nine based on the traditional Square of Opposition. The data were analysed to determine if a significant difference existed in the abilities of subjects to reason among grade levels, the Piagetian Developmental levels, and between content dimensions. There were a total of 195 subjects in the study—57 fifth-grade subjects, 62 seventh-grade subjects, and 76 ninth-grade subjects—from the parish (county) of New Orleans, Louisiana. The ethnic composition of the sample included Anglo-Americans, Black-Americans, and Latin-Americans from families having low to upper-middle socio-economic backgrounds. The testing instruments were a cognitive development test consisting of 20 items and a logical reasoning test consisting of 96 items of categorical propositions. From the analysis of data, the following were concluded: (1) The differences among the mean scores of the fifth, seventh, and ninth-grade subjects were statistically significant at the 0.01 level of significance. This indicated that the ability of the ninth-grade subjects was superior to that of the fifth and seventh-grade subjects. The difference between the mean scores of the fifth and seventh-grade subjects was also statistically different. Hence, the ability of the seventh-grade subjects was superior to that of the fifth-grade subjects. (2) The Piagetian level had a significant effect on the ability to recognise immediate inferences at the 0.01 level of significance. Those subjects who were ranked at the formal operational level consistently scored higher than those ranked at the transitional and concrete level. (5) The content dimensions had a significant effect on the ability to reason. The subjects, in every cell, had a larger mean score in the familiar content dimension. (4) The subjects experienced the greatest difficulty with negated propositions, and in particular, those propositions inferring from a negated particular to an universal.

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Keywords

Reasoning--Study and teaching, Logic--Study and teaching, Inference

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