German, Nicole Ann; Ph.D.
Program of Education
College of Human Development and Education; North Dakota State University
Assessment of Critical Thinking Skills Among Undergraduate Athletic Training Students.
Major Professor: Dr. Ron Stammen
Critical thinking skills and abilities are essential in the practice of athletic training. Faced with an array of situations on a daily basis, critical thinking is a key component in the decision-making process exercised by athletic trainers. The intent of this study was to provide information regarding critical thinking skills of undergraduate athletic training students. The California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST) was utilized to assess critical thinking skills among undergraduate athletic training students. A sample of 78 undergraduate athletic training students from 4 accredited institutions participated in this study.
Scores generated from this study provided a critical thinking baseline score for undergraduate athletic training students. Using a 95% confidence interval, undergraduate athletic training student scores were compared to existing data from studies from the allied health professions of nursing, pharmacy, physical and occupational therapy, and dental hygiene. Results show that undergraduate athletic training students’ CCTST scores are comparable to students in other allied health professions. This study also indicates that the CCTST is an appropriate measurement tool for athletic training. An analysis of variance revealed no significant difference between academic level and critical thinking scores (p = 0.05). A t-test for independent samples found no significant difference in CCTST scores among gender or students reporting previous instruction in critical thinking (p = 0.05). Recommendations for future research include longitudinal research designs to assess critical thinking changes over time and studies that focus on instructional strategies.