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Utilizing Fluency, Flexibility, Originality, and Elaboration to Enhance Creativity and Vocabulary Use for Improving Reading Comprehension in Third through Sixth Grade Students

Dissertation
Author: Megan Lawler Salemi
Abstract:
The increased use of standardized testing to measure student and teacher success has caused a shift in the way teachers approach students and learning. Students in regular education classrooms, particularly those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, may not receive the highest quality instruction due to the testing needs of the school or other students. However, educators must find ways to include all learners in the highest quality instruction while meeting district testing needs. Creativity research provides a framework for understanding the brain and learning in a way that may help increase students' test scores and ensure that they receive high quality instruction. In this study, creativity was operationally defined by four of its factors: fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration. The purpose of this research was to investigate the effects instruction emphasizing fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration had on students' vocabulary acquisition and reading comprehension. Creativity was measured by the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking and the Khatena-Torrance Creative Perception Inventory . Vocabulary acquisition and reading comprehension were measured by the STAR Reading Test . It was hypothesized that students instructed in creativity during their vocabulary lessons would score higher on creativity measures and vocabulary measures. Consequently, those students should also score higher on reading comprehension measures. Eighty-seven third through sixth grade students from a small, private school in the Mid-South participated in the research. Forty-four students participated in the treatment group and 43 participated in the control group. A significant difference in scores was found between the treatment and control groups on the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking Verbal Form . The treatment group performed significantly higher than the control group after the treatment was administered. No other significant differences were found. Further implications of the results are discussed.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

1. INTRODUCTION ...............................................................................................1 Statement of the Problem ....................................................................................2 Purpose of the Study ...........................................................................................5 Research Questions .............................................................................................6 Definitions of Terms ...........................................................................................6

2. REVIEW OF LITERATURE ..............................................................................9 Traditional versus Nontraditional Instructional Practices .....................................9 The Need for Creativity and Vocabulary Instruction ..........................................12 Creative Thinking Instruction ............................................................................22 Fluency, Flexibility, Originality, and Elaboration ..............................................47 Vocabulary Development with Creativity ..........................................................54 Critique, Statement of the Problem, Purpose .....................................................57 Conclusion ........................................................................................................62

3. METHODS .......................................................................................................64 Purpose of the Study .........................................................................................64 Design ...............................................................................................................65 Participants .......................................................................................................66 Procedures ........................................................................................................66 Instrumentation .................................................................................................69 Data ..................................................................................................................72 Limitations ........................................................................................................74

4. RESULTS .........................................................................................................76 Opening Statement ............................................................................................76 Data and Statistical Results ...............................................................................77 Additional Variables .........................................................................................83 Closing Statement .............................................................................................83

5. CONCLUSIONS AND DISCUSSION ..............................................................85 Create PDF files without this message by purchasing novaPDF printer (http://www.novapdf.com)

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Opening Statement ............................................................................................85 Conclusions ......................................................................................................86 Recommendations .............................................................................................88 Implications ......................................................................................................89 For Future Studies .............................................................................................90 Discussion .........................................................................................................91 Closing Summary ..............................................................................................92

REFERENCES .............................................................................................................93

APPENDICES ............................................................................................................112

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CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

Achievement gaps among different groups of students have haunted reformers searching for equal educational opportunities for all students (Kozol, 1991; Hilliard, 2000; Lomax, West, Harmon, Viator, & Madaus, 1995). These gaps have been documented by researchers in both intelligence and achievement (Hilliard, Perry, & Steele, 2003; Lomax et al., 1995). Low performance on standardized measures has prompted legislators to seek solutions regardless of the validity of the claims researchers purport exist between students from minority groups and European Americans. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) provides support for a variety of underperforming groups of students, such as students who are homeless, living in economically disadvantaged communities, and in abusive situations. In addition to providing resources for students who might be left behind academically, NCLB (2002) outlines requirements for measuring the academic progress of schools receiving Federal funds. The purpose of the NCLB legislation is to guarantee that all students, regardless of background, receive an equal opportunity to a high-quality education that meets minimum performance standards on state achievement measures. This legislation also attempts to regulate teaching in order to reduce any gaps in performance. Additionally, the Act functions as a benchmark to hold public schools accountable for the academic Create PDF files without this message by purchasing novaPDF printer (http://www.novapdf.com)

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performance of all students (NCLB, 2002, sect. 1001). The reality of this Act shifts the focus from authentic learning and critical thinking to a bottom line of raising students’ test scores on state mandated standardized tests. Since the enactment of NCLB into law, “accountability” has become an institutionalized concept, signifying a great shift in teaching and learning in schools. The shift toward increasing student test scores on standardized tests may particularly deter minority or low socioeconomic students from achieving high school graduation, entrance into college, or economic stability in the workforce (Lee, Daniels, Puig, Newgent, & Nam, 2008; Fram, Miller-Cribbs, & Horn, 2007). Further, a disparity in academic achievement often predicts future economic, personal and family success (Teske, Fitzpatrick, & Kaplan, 2006; Rouse & Barrow, 2006). Statement of the Problem Teachers are often faced with a conflict between learners’ needs and state mandated requirements (Brimijoin, 2005; Longo, 2010). Many teachers continue to teach using best practices to foster critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity for minority and low socioeconomic students. Research shows that “high-stakes” standardized testing to produce maximum learning at minimum performance standards hinders teachers’ ability to use these strategies (Hurren, Rutledge, & Garvin, 2006; Caughy & O’Campo, 2006; Hilliard et al., 2003). For minority and low socioeconomic students, defining success may not be as simple as taking one standardized test; therefore, utilizing instructional and assessment methods that define and measure success is necessary (Hilliard et al., 2003; Tate 2003). Specific instructional strategies must also be Create PDF files without this message by purchasing novaPDF printer (http://www.novapdf.com)

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indentified that assist minority and low socioeconomic students in eliminating an achievement gap. One area deserving attention is vocabulary instruction as a specific skill to increase reading comprehension. Vocabulary and reading are historically and causally linked (Baumann, Edwards, Boland, Olejnick & Kame’enui, 2003). Students struggling in reading comprehension should benefit from different types of instruction in vocabulary. The NCLB Act was originally implemented as an attempt to reduce the achievement gaps between different groups of students; however, this act has shifted the focus of education from teaching necessary skills and information to teaching the specific requirements of a test. Creativity provides a framework that could serve as a way to impact student achievement on a summative assessment while also attending to the learner’s educational needs regardless of race or socioeconomic background (Ford, Moore, & Milner, 2005; Tieso, 2005; Respress & Lutfi, 2006; Cheng, Wang, Liu, & Chen, 2010). A review of the research in creativity sheds light on the complicated nature of learning and the brain and underscores the limited scope of a standardized test at measuring teaching and learning (Chavez-Eakle, Graff- Guerroro, Vaugier, & Cruz- Fuentes, 2007; Douville, 2004; Jitendra, Sczesniak, & Deatline-Buchman, 2005) . Research suggests that teaching students how to be creative in their thinking and their approaches to learning will provide the high-quality education the NCLB Act (2002) and other assessments seek to validate. In addition, creative thinking can significantly increase all students’ ability to achieve higher than minimum proficiency on standardized Create PDF files without this message by purchasing novaPDF printer (http://www.novapdf.com)

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tests by engaging higher order thought processes with content knowledge and increased problem solving skills (Goldberg & Bush, 2003; Wolfe, 2002). Research also highlights the central role vocabulary plays in high achievement on standardized assessments (Manzo, Manzo, & Thomas, 2006; Barry, Heubsch, & Burhop, 2008; Parcel & Geschwender, 1995). Researchers in the fields of creativity and vocabulary advise that updated study is needed to connect these areas of research with student achievement (Sternberg, 2002, 2007; Dudek, Strobel, & Runco, 1993; National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2000; Shaunessy, Karnes, & Cobb, 2004). Current studies of creativity aimed at increasing achievement scores focus on components of the creative thinking – producing a substantial number of ideas, using metacognition, or utilizing high level problem solving (Goldberg & Bush, 2003; Douville, 2004). Other studies distinguish creativity as a whole-brain process that should be utilized holistically to produce creative thoughts and learning (Starchenko, Bekhtereva, Pakhomov, & Medvedev, 2003; Abraham & Windmann, 2007; Treffinger & Isaksen, 2005). Current studies of vocabulary studies also contain a wide array of definitions and perspectives (Manzo et al., 2006; NICHHD, 2000). Fluency, elaboration, and originality are three components regularly cited in creativity research. The Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT), one of the most widely used creativity measures, provide verbal and performance tasks based on divergent thinking elements: fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration (Torrance, 1974). These elements were first identified by J. P. Guilford who advanced theories of Create PDF files without this message by purchasing novaPDF printer (http://www.novapdf.com)

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intelligence advocating for the inclusion of creativity during the 1950s. Based on extensive research, Torrance eliminated flexibility measures from his test battery due to its high correlation with fluency measures. The TTCT adopt Guilford’s definitions of fluency as the number of relevant responses, originality as the number of unusual and relevant responses determined by statistical infrequency, and elaboration as the number of details used to extend a response (Torrance, 1974; Guilford, 1950). These measures have become widely accepted as the basis for defining and measuring creativity (Wang & Horng, 2002; Russo, 2004; Cramond, Matthews-Morgan, Bandalos, & Zuo, 2005; Matud, Rodriguez, & Grande, 2007). Purpose of the Study The purpose of this research is to investigate the effects instruction emphasizing fluency, originality and elaboration will have on students’ vocabulary acquisition and reading comprehension. Students in urban school settings with higher minority subgroup populations may benefit from teaching creativity to increase achievement. Not only do students in urban school settings often begin schooling with disproportionate family resources, they also may suffer from a lack of supplied educational resources (Crosnoe & Huston, 2007). Finding brain-based, cost-effective methods with high student expectations could serve dual roles for educators. These methods could assist educators in spending appropriate time teaching students to meet or exceed minimum testing standards while also increasing student learning.

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Research Questions Through a review and synthesis of the literature about creativity and education, several research questions emerge: 1. Is there a relationship between the effect of instruction emphasizing fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration on vocabulary achievement and reading comprehension as measured by the STAR Reading test? 2. Will the use of fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration in vocabulary instruction have a statistically significant impact on students’ creativity scores as measured by the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking? 3. Is there an effect on how students rate their own creativity as a result of instruction emphasizing fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration as measured by the Khatena-Torrance Creative Perception Inventory? Definition of Terms Advanced. A student’s score is advanced on a standardized state achievement test if it is a certain percentage above the minimum proficiency required by that state (Mendoza, 2006). Below proficient. A student’s score on a standardized state achievement test if it is a certain percentage below the minimum proficiency required by that state (Mendoza, 2006). Creative framework. A method of understanding and using understandings of creativity in order to enhance academic and problem solving performance (Treffinger et al., 2003a). Create PDF files without this message by purchasing novaPDF printer (http://www.novapdf.com)

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Creative problem solving. Creative Problem Solving (CPS) is one current model constructed to teach and measure creativity as a problem solving process. It involves directions and materials to clarify problems, think of ideas, and decide on and carry out solutions (Treffinger & Isaksen, 2005). Creativity. Creativity has many, varied definitions across a variety of disciplines. Creativity will generally be defined as a complex, mental process employing numerous areas in the brain that produces a product, often thought to be novel in nature. Elaboration, fluency, and originality are three different components identified as assisting in developing creative ideas (Torrance, 1974; Plucker & Runco, 1998). Divergent thinking. Divergent thinking, also referred to as brainstorming, is the production of numerous responses to a single prompt (Guilford, 1950; Osborne, 1963). Elaboration. Elaboration refers to the number of details used to extend a response (Torrance, 1974). Flexibility. Flexibility refers to the number of different categories to which responses could belong. Flexibility represents a change in thought (Torrance, 1974). Fluency. Fluency refers to the number of relevant responses (Torrance, 1974). Originality. Originality refers to the number of unusual, but relevant ideas as measured by the statistical infrequency of the idea (Torrance, 1974). Partially proficient. A student’s score is partially proficient on a standardized state achievement test that is within a predetermined acceptable range in some subtest areas, but not in other subtest areas (Mendoza, 2006). Create PDF files without this message by purchasing novaPDF printer (http://www.novapdf.com)

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Proficient. A student’s score is proficient on a standardized state achievement test if it meets the minimum requirements for acceptability as established by that state (Mendoza, 2006). Thinking styles. Thinking styles are “one’s preferred way of using the abilities we have” (Zhang, 2002, p. 247). Create PDF files without this message by purchasing novaPDF printer (http://www.novapdf.com)

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CHAPTER 2

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

While current legislation has defined student and school success as scoring minimum proficiency on one yearly state-created, mandated test, researchers and education professionals have been critical of using a single measure to describe or predict a student’s or school’s success (NCLB, 2002, sect. 1001). One review of achievement data gathered globally revealed that no single predictor of student achievement could be identified (e.g. race, gender, socioeconomic status) (Heyneman, 2005). These conclusions suggest educational institutions should not focus solely on numerical achievement improvement. A review of the research in creativity suggests that creativity can be utilized to facilitate student learning (Douville, 2004; Hoh, 2005; Saunders-Wickes & Ward, 2006; Xin, 2007). The goal of creative education should not be to think creatively to perform better on a test; instead, the goal should be to enhance the thinking processes of students so that they solve problems and make decisions in creative, productive ways throughout their lives (Treffinger et al., 2003a). Traditional versus Nontraditional Instructional Practices Anecdotal reports from classroom teachers, specialists, and administrators in low- performing and high-performing schools in four districts in Colorado indicated that instructional time was manipulated to serve students’ testing needs as opposed to their Create PDF files without this message by purchasing novaPDF printer (http://www.novapdf.com)

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overall learning needs (Mendoza, 2006). Anecdotal information was gathered from regular classroom teachers of reading, writing, and mathematics. Mendoza asked participants to report the amount of time and energy spent teaching these subjects. An analysis of teachers’ averages showed students received instructional attention based on their performance status on previous testing. Students scoring below proficient received 24% of instructional attention, students scoring partially proficient received 39%, students scoring proficient received 26%, and students scoring advanced received 11%. Sixty-three percent of instructional time was spent on students who needed to pass a test. An alternative interpretation is 63% of instructional time was not used effectively for proficient or advanced students. This report suggests that all students are not receiving a high-quality education, but rather calculated instruction based on school data and school needs to perform at minimum proficiency (Mendoza, 2006). Professionals also suggested that focus has shifted to assist low-performing students in meeting statistical proficiency on achievement tests under the NCLB Act (Longo, 2010). Consequently, students labeled gifted or above average may receive less instructional time and resources. An investigation of state funding options for equitable education funding revealed that only two states provided adequate funding for students receiving gifted education (Baker & McIntire, 2003). Research showed that students from a low socioeconomic status and African Americans are further excluded from gifted education due to cultural and testing bias (Ambrose, 2004; Milner & Ford, 2007; Shaunessy et al., 2004; Ford et al., 2005). Research has shown that using minimum proficiency requirements on a summative state assessment does not benefit students Create PDF files without this message by purchasing novaPDF printer (http://www.novapdf.com)

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(Mendoza, 2006; Lomax et al., 1995). The repercussions associated with not meeting NCLB requirements reinforce instructional practices that increase students’ scores on the yearly summative assessment (Liston, Whitcomb, & Borko, 2007; McMillian, 2003). Educators desiring more for their students than a proficiency score are viewed as nontraditional thinkers in the current direction of educational policy (Doherty & Hilberg, 2007). In terms of effective instructional practice beyond a summative assessment, research addresses the role of language and discussion. An important element in effective classrooms is the communication between students and their peers, as well as between students and teachers (Vygotsky, 1978). In Doherty and Hilberg’s (2007) replication of a previous study, they supported the original findings that student achievement in comprehension, language, reading and spelling could be predicted by teacher’s use of five standards of effective pedagogy. Low income, Latino students participated in the replication study. An increase in these minority and low income students’ achievement scores indicated that effective pedagogy and classroom organization can supersede test-taking strategies or instruction aimed at test performance. It is critical that educators desiring effective instructional practices while needing to maintain proficient test scores examine their instructional practices and classroom organization. In the study, researchers described five standards that should propel classroom instruction. These standards are joint activities involving discussions between teachers and students, language and literacy implementation across all content areas, connecting learning to all areas of students’ lives, requiring students to elaborate new learning, and planned small-group instruction (Doherty & Hilberg, 2007). Create PDF files without this message by purchasing novaPDF printer (http://www.novapdf.com)

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Language and discussion reflect a significant portion of student achievement (Vygotsky, 1978; Graves, 2007). Instructional practices aimed at increasing student learning and achievement must take vocabulary instruction into account. Students must receive opportunities to communicate to solve problems and learn new information (Wu & Chiou, 2008). Creative production involves various areas of the brain (Starchenko et al., 2003; Chavez-Eakle et al., 2007). Creative production involves fluency, originality, and elaboration of ideas (Mouchiroud & Lubart, 2001; Wu & Chiou, 2008). All of these skills are necessary for vocabulary development and increased communication between students and their peers, as well as between students and teachers (Graves, 2007). Teachers aspiring to provide quality instruction that also allows students to meet proficiency on standardized tests could attain this goal by utilizing fluency, originality, and elaboration of ideas within the context of creativity. The Need for Creativity and Vocabulary Instruction The impact of standardized testing on students’ neurological development has been considered by researchers. Brain development and language acquisition research suggests that a single summative evaluation may actually have negative effects on students’ knowledge retention, mastery of content, and transfer of learning to new contexts. The diverse ways of representing knowledge disappears when only a multiple choice answer is desired. The Center for Educational Policy’s 5 th annual report on NCLB indicated that more instructional time is spent on content that is tested, such as reading and math. The adjustments in instructional time to produce higher test scores resulted in a 32% average decrease in all other educational areas, especially social studies, science, art, Create PDF files without this message by purchasing novaPDF printer (http://www.novapdf.com)

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music, physical education, lunch, and recess. The report further explains that school districts reported 84% of the reading and math instructional time was spent on teaching skills directly related to the standardized test (Center on Educational Policy, 2007). This additional instructional time in reading and math may be providing students with initial understandings in these content areas; however, learning occurs when students are able to transfer their knowledge to other situations. If learning is contextualized within the confines of a standardized test, students may not be able to use what they have learned outside of that context. There may be no transfer of their learning (National Research Council, 2000). Additional content areas, such as science, social studies, art, and music, provide different learning experiences for students to transfer their initial understanding and master content knowledge (Plucker & Zabelina, 2009). During instructional time complex ways of understanding, such as metaphors, analogies, imagery in spoken and written forms, and illustrations are necessary for students’ comprehension regardless of the measurement (Williamson, Bondy, Langly, & Mayne, 2005; Hurren et al., 2006). In one case study, researchers examined two teachers in a low performing urban elementary school. These two teachers’ students scored significantly higher on the state assessment than other students in their school. Instead of using teaching material matching the standardized test, both teachers demanded a deep level of understanding from their students through explanations, written defenses, and performance-based assessments of their learning. These teachers were aware of the standards their students needed to meet, but with high-quality, brain-based strategies, Create PDF files without this message by purchasing novaPDF printer (http://www.novapdf.com)

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100% of their students passed the state assessments. Most of their students scored above proficient (Williamson et al., 2005). Educational brain research acknowledges the fact that a variety of on-going formative assessments is necessary to provide environments in which mastery of content knowledge and deep understanding can occur. A fixed summative assessment can inhibit understanding and mastery of content. Further, reliance on a single, rigid performance style may also have unforeseen consequences for students and schools. Even though standardized test scores at the state level are increasing at the elementary and middle school levels, content mastery on higher-order thinking skills for high school students on the national level is decreasing (Center on Educational Policy, 2007). Other studies of the effects of NCLB have indicated that many schools’ test scores are increasing because their dropout rates are increasing. Students unable to meet the standard requirements for testing tend to drop out of school, especially if a diploma hinges on meeting this testing requirement (Balfanz, Legters, West, & Weber, 2007). Similarly, experiences and environments affect how the brain develops. New learning is developed and enhanced when it is applied to a variety of contexts (National Research Council, 2000; Brinkman, 2010). For example, students may learn how to divide fractions in a math class. However, to engage in a deeper level of understanding and facilitate transfer of learning, students would benefit from manipulating recipes with fractional parts. Deeper learning would occur if students then used the fractional manipulations to create the recipe. Language acquisition and memory studies also show “the developing and the mature brain are structurally altered when learning occurs” Create PDF files without this message by purchasing novaPDF printer (http://www.novapdf.com)

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(NRC, 2000, p. 125-126). Early language experiences can affect word learning. Children who had larger word knowledge were able to learn and produce more original words than their same-age peers (Hoh, 2005; Mills et al., 2004). Based on their findings, researchers from the NRC (2000) concluded that the type of instruction impacts the learning and the learner. The most efficient and productive method for ensuring students perform well in school is to provide high-quality brain-based instruction with high performance expectations. In the midst of teacher accountability of student performance on a standardized, summative assessment, many educators are seeking to provide this quality, brain-based educational experience to students that will extend beyond the competencies required to pass a test (Brimijoin, 2005; Hurren et al., 2006). Learning opportunities shape the brain and impact future learning significantly because of dendrites. Dendrites are parts of the nerve that branch out from the center of the neuron. A neurological misconception is that all of the brain’s connective abilities form shortly after birth. When connections are not made among areas of the brain through dendrites, the brain will prune connections that are not used to increase efficiency (Willis, 2007). While an overwhelming abundance of dendrites are formed during infant development and early childhood, there are many other periods during development that dendrites reconnect and adapt. Pruning actively occurs to dendrites that are not exercised so that new connections can be formed through new experiences (NRC, 2000). In one ten-year longitudinal study, thirteen children and adolescents’ brains were scanned every 2 years using magnetic resonance imagery (MRI). Researchers asserted Create PDF files without this message by purchasing novaPDF printer (http://www.novapdf.com)

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that mapping the brain development during childhood and early adulthood of the same subjects could provide comparison images from which to draw conclusions about brain development and disorders. Results affirmed that although brain development in individuals is nonlinear, there are patterns of development that typically occurred in most participants (Gogtay et al., 2004). Specifically they found that higher-order processing areas developed after lower- order processing areas developed. First, typically the frontal lobe matured from the back to the front, then the superior and inferior frontal gyri matured, and the prefrontal cortex matured last. The frontal lobe is a part of the cerebral cortex that regulates problem solving and reasoning. The superior and inferior frontal gyri assist in the cognitive understandings of nuances in language and thought. A gyrus is a fold in the brain that creates efficiency in processing complex information in the cerebral cortex. The prefrontal cortex regulates self-control of impulses and discretion in decision-making. These areas of the brain that regulate decision-making are called executive functioning areas (Gogtay et al., 2004). Executive functioning areas of the brain, the frontal lobe and prefrontal cortex, regulate complex thought processes, such as problem solving, fluency and flexibility of ideas, and judgment (Starchenko et al., 2003; Chavez-Eakle et al., 2007; Abraham & Windmann, 2007). In many cases, the type of test used to measure thinking dictate the area of the brain engaged during the thought processes (Rosalind, Chavez, Grazioplene, & Jung, 2010). Other studies have found correlations between cortical brain development and intelligence measures, particularly the vocabulary subtest of the Weschler Create PDF files without this message by purchasing novaPDF printer (http://www.novapdf.com)

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intelligence tests and the Creative Achievement Questionnaire (Shaw et al., 2006; Jung et al., 2010). Other researchers have confirmed that learning experiences shape the brain and future learning. One area that has been investigated is the role the formation of myelin sheaths (myelination) around nerve fibers play in language development. Myelin is a fatty substance which protects nerves in the brain and ensures correct electrical transmissions of information across neurological networks. In one study, 241 neurologically healthy children from birth to 8.25 years old contributed magnetic resonance images (MRI) to researchers in a Tokyo hospital. Researchers analyzed seven language-related areas of participants’ brains for myelination as compared to 25 adolescents and adults, who served as a control group. The myelination process for all participants fit a similar curve: myelination began at birth, matured at approximate 1.5 years, and slowed into adulthood. This study suggests that rapid myelin production until 1.5 years facilitated increased vocabulary growth during this developmental period; however, results also suggest that vocabulary and language development continue into adulthood, consistent with myelination (Su, Kuan, Kaga, Sano, & Mima, 2008). Additional studies confirm that a wide distribution of brain activity affecting vocabulary occurs during early childhood. Children from approximately 12-14 months use frontal, anterior temporal, temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes to process unfamiliar and nonsensical words (Mills et. al, 2004). Vocabulary development in early age ranges increases dramatically, and brain activity significantly reorganizes during this time. Electroencephalographs (EEG) of children with small vocabularies for their age range Create PDF files without this message by purchasing novaPDF printer (http://www.novapdf.com)

Full document contains 128 pages
Abstract: The increased use of standardized testing to measure student and teacher success has caused a shift in the way teachers approach students and learning. Students in regular education classrooms, particularly those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, may not receive the highest quality instruction due to the testing needs of the school or other students. However, educators must find ways to include all learners in the highest quality instruction while meeting district testing needs. Creativity research provides a framework for understanding the brain and learning in a way that may help increase students' test scores and ensure that they receive high quality instruction. In this study, creativity was operationally defined by four of its factors: fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration. The purpose of this research was to investigate the effects instruction emphasizing fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration had on students' vocabulary acquisition and reading comprehension. Creativity was measured by the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking and the Khatena-Torrance Creative Perception Inventory . Vocabulary acquisition and reading comprehension were measured by the STAR Reading Test . It was hypothesized that students instructed in creativity during their vocabulary lessons would score higher on creativity measures and vocabulary measures. Consequently, those students should also score higher on reading comprehension measures. Eighty-seven third through sixth grade students from a small, private school in the Mid-South participated in the research. Forty-four students participated in the treatment group and 43 participated in the control group. A significant difference in scores was found between the treatment and control groups on the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking Verbal Form . The treatment group performed significantly higher than the control group after the treatment was administered. No other significant differences were found. Further implications of the results are discussed.