Date of Award

1995

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours

School

School of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Peter Cole

Abstract

Possible differences in problem solving abilities between children with intellectual disabilities and regular class children were studied. A comparison was made between the children with intellectual disabilities and regular class children of comparable developmental level (mental age). The children with intellectual disabilities were also compared with regular class children of comparable chronological age. Subjects completed a preliminary task to determine mastery of the required skills before attempting an experimental problem solving game. The game required subjects to ask questions in order to achieve a problem solution. Each subject's level of motivation to solve the problem was also measured using a Likert type scale. Three main dependent variables which examined solution time rates and interrogative strategies were generated by the experimental game: (i) time taken to solve the problem, (ii) total number of questions needed to solve the problem, and (iii) type of question generated to solve the problem. A fourth dependent variable, level of motivation to solve the problem, was employed as a moderating variable in other analyses. ANCOV A and ANOV A were used to determine if performance differences existed among the groups on the dependent variables. Single df tests were then carried out to identify between-group differences. The most significant finding was that there were no differences between the children with intellectual disabilities and the regular class children of comparable mental age on any of the dependent variables. A significant difference was shown between the children with intellectual disabilities and regular class children of similar chronological age on each of the dependent variables. No significant differences were found between students in terms of gender on any of the variables. These results indicate that children with intellectual disabilities and regular class children of comparable mental age employ much the same problem solving strategies and have similar solution time rates when involved with problem solving of game-like tasks. These findings support Zigler's developmental theory of mental retardation.

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