THE EFFECT OF EXPOSURE TO PROBLEM SOLVING SITUATIONS ON THE DIVERGENT PRODUCTION ABILITIES OF LEARNING DISABLED STUDENTS
The purpose of this study was to examine the performance of learning disabled students, grades four through six, in the area of divergent production of semantic and figural abilities. It was proposed that intellectual functioning within these categories could be determined so as to provide clues for teaching. It was further proposed that divergent production abilities could be upgraded with proper remediation techniques. Learning disabled students, grades four through six, were administered the test battery, "Creativity Tests for Children." This is a group of tests measuring visual-figural and semantic abilities in the area of divergent production, an important contributor to creative thinking. The tests are based on a model formulated by J. P. Guilford, "The Structure of Intellect Model." This model is a three-way classification of intellectual abilities which categorizes the fundamental ability factors involved in intellectual processes. Pre-tests were administered individually to each student. An individual profile was then charted to indicate areas of strength or weakness. The pre-test scores showed that students performed poorly on all abilities except divergent production of figural units. The intervention was composed of a broad range of activities specifically designed to improve student performance. The goal of these activities was to increase divergent production abilities by encouraging students to consider a variety of solutions to problems presented. The intervention period continued for twelve weeks. Post-tests were then administered individually to each student. An examination of post-test scores showed an overall improvement in each area with an increase in the number of solutions considered by the group. An analysis of variance was performed on each of the ten tests, comparing pre- and post-test scores. Results were significant at the .01 level in the areas of semantic classes, semantic systems, semantic implications and figural classes. Those abilities which improved but did not achieve statistical significance were semantic units, semantic relations, figural units, figural systems, figural transformations and figural implications. Student performance in the area of divergent production of figural abilities was compared with their performance in divergent production of semantic abilities. An analysis of variance was performed on the data and results were significant for both pre- and post-tests in the area of units and implications. A correlation matrix was developed which allowed any combination of products within abilities to be examined. No significant pattern was found among grade-levels or between pre- and post-tests in either the figural or semantic area. It was concluded that there was no relationship between tests. An analysis of post-test results provided clues to those areas which required further remediation. It was concluded that teachers could utilize this information to plan learning activities to improve student performance. It was further concluded that the statistically significant results indicated that divergent production abilities could be upgraded with proper remediation techniques.