ERIC Number: ED412604
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Cognitive Complexity and Expertise: Relationships between External and Internal Measures of Cognitive Complexity and Abstraction, and Responses to a Case Problem.
Allison, Derek J.; Morfitt, Grace; Demaerschalk, Dawn
On-the-job experience is commonly regarded as the prime prerequisite for proficiency. This paper presents findings of a study that compared the ways in which a group of practicing elementary principals (n=31) and aspiring principals (n=25) thought their way through a case study. The study was conducted as part of the Cognitive Approaches to School Leadership (CASL) Project. The paper considers relationships between respondents' responses to the case problem and their cognitive abilities and styles, particularly cognitive complexity and levels of abstract thought. The theoretical frame adopted for the CASL Project associates the development of expertise in the principalship with the development of richer, more complex and integrated domain-relevant schemata. Four measures of cognitive complexity were used: Stamp's (1978) Symbol Card Task (SCT); Schroder's Paragraph Completion Test (PCT); a set of questionnaire items developed by Sashkin (1990) to estimate Jaques' level of work capacity through self-reports of time-span; and Fiedler's (1967) Least Preferred Co-worker (LPC) scale. The main finding is that domain knowledge, rather than general cognitive style or native capacity, better predicts and explains judged quality of response to the case problem. The cognitive capacities taped by the SCT appear to have little relevance. In addition, the significant age difference between the principals and novice participants may be masking or otherwise distorting the data. Other facets of the cognitive complexity complex, especially those tapped by the PCT, appear to be more relevant. Five figures and four tables are included. (Contains 53 references.) (LMI)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Ottawa (Ontario).
Authoring Institution: N/A