Content-Based Curriculum Vs. Concept-Based Curriculum: A Retrospective Causal Comparative Study to Identify Impact on the Development of Critical Thinking
Ditto, Therese J.
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Session presented on Monday, July 27, 2015: Purpose: The purpose of this research was to implement and evaluate the development of critical thinking among ASN nursing students with a concept-based vs. content-based curriculum. Evidence exists that both content-based and concept-based curricula serve to accomplish the same passing rates on NCLEX-RN (Giddens & Norton, 2010). Both IOM (2008) and NLN (2010) contend that graduate nurse's today need to develop critical thinking during nursing school. Nursing education for many years has primarily been content-based. What is not known is the impact that concept-based curriculum has on the development of critical thinking in the classroom. Methods: Two groups of ASN nursing students in a medical-surgical course were compared, one group of 101 students who had received content-based curriculum and one group of 102 students who received the concept-based curriculum with active learning strategies. Control variables were GPA and Reading Comprehensive scores. Five test items from each unit exam were examples of development of critical thinking and the ATI final exam sub-score of Critical Thinking was analyzed through repeated measures of MANCOVA. Results: Demographic data revealed mean age of 38, ethnicity predominately Hispanic 54% and Caribbean Islander 24%; females 80%, males 20% and 84% were ESOL. Among the concept-based curriculum participants (Group2), a significant increase in CT from Exam 1 to Exam 2 and in Exam 3, t (402) = 6.87. Group 2 also had an increase in CT sub-category score on the ATI final exam: p < .001. Conclusion: Changing from a content-based to a concept-based curriculum would increase the development of critical thinking of nursing students in the classroom. Using active learning strategies in the classroom promotes the development of critical thinking and critical reasoning.