Critical Thinking Skills of U.S. Air Force Senior and Intermediate Developmental Education Students
AIR WAR COLL MAXWELL AFB AL MAXWELL AFB United States
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In their September 2015 AF Future Operating Concept, the Secretary of the Air Force and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force called for the identification of critical thinkers and metrics to track and measure critical thinking CT skills. To answer their charge, this quantitative research project used the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal to establish a baseline of current CT skills among active duty Air Force AF officers attending professional military education PME in-residence at Air Command and Staff College ACSC, School for Advanced Air and Space Studies SAASS, and Air War College AWC. T-tests indicated no statistically significant difference in the CT skills of the sample of ACSC and AWC students, but did reveal a significant difference between ACSC and SAASS students. Furthermore, the average raw score for ACSC and AWC was at the 36th percentile, with SAASS at the 61st percentile, when compared to the normative group with a Masters-level education. This result established AF officers attending ACSC and AWC in-residence were below average in CT skills when compared with individuals at the same academic level. These findings suggested that the operational leadership, and, most importantly, levels of PME and education, fail to develop the CT skills of AF officers. As a partial solution to this problem, this paper will make recommendations for modifications in the delivery of PME curriculum.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations
- Administration and Management
- Military Forces and Organizations