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Dr. Fred C. Lunenburg, Published in the NATIONAL FORUM OF TEACHER EDUCATION JOURNAL - Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Editor-in-Chief, NATIONAL FORUM JOURNALS (Founded 1982) - www.nationalforum.com

Dr. Fred C. Lunenburg, Published in the NATIONAL FORUM OF TEACHER EDUCATION JOURNAL - Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Editor-in-Chief, NATIONAL FORUM JOURNALS (Founded 1982) - www.nationalforum.com

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Dr. Fred C. Lunenburg, Published in the NATIONAL FORUM OF TEACHER EDUCATION JOURNAL - Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Editor-in-Chief, NATIONAL FORUM JOURNALS (Founded 1982) - www.nationalforum.com
Dr. Fred C. Lunenburg, Published in the NATIONAL FORUM OF TEACHER EDUCATION JOURNAL - Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Editor-in-Chief, NATIONAL FORUM JOURNALS (Founded 1982) - www.nationalforum.com

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 NATIONAL FORUM OF TEACHER EDUCATION JOURNALVOLUME 24, NUMBERS 1 & 2, 2014
Critical Thinking and ConstructivismTechniques for Improving Student Achievement
Fred C. Lunenburg, h!
Professor J!!" N# Mer$%'( S$%o)r De*r(!e'( of E+$(o') Le+ers%* & Co'se)'-S! Hos(o' S((e U'.ers("
Abstract
NAEP data suggest that student outcomes in American education are a little better–and in some cases worse–than they were 30 years ago. Moreover, students in some other advanced, technological countries consistently outperform American students on international tests in science and mathematics. The ultimate goal of the No Child Left Behind legislation is that all students will demonstrate competency over challenging subject matter in the core subject areas—reading, mathematics, science, and social studies—and learn to use their minds well, so they are prepared for responsible citizenship, further learning, and productive employment in our Nation’s economy. In this article, I discuss the condition of education in America and offer two approaches to teaching subject matter (critical thinking and constructivism) that may result in major improvements in student achievement.Accountability for school improvement is a central theme of federal and state polices. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (Public Law 107-110) sets demanding accountability standards for schools, school districts, and states, including new state testing requirements designed to improve education. For example, the law requires that states develop both content standards in reading and mathematics and tests that are linked to the standards for grades 3 through 8, with science standards and assessments to follow. States must identify adequate yearly progress (AYP) objectives and disaggregate test results for all students and subgroups of students based on socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, English language proficiency, and disability. Moreover, the law mandates that 100 percent of students must score at the proficient level on state tests by 2014. Will schools, school districts, and states be able to respond to the demand?
Where Are We Now?
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), often referred to as the nation’s “report card,” is the only nationally representative continuing assessment that measures what students know and are able to do in the core subject areas. NAEP is administered at fourth
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FRED C# LUNENBUR/
grade, eighth grade, and twelfth grade at various points in time. Both public and private school students in grades 4, 8, and 12 are sampled and assessed on a regular basis. The NAEP tests are developed nationally by teachers, curriculum experts, and the public. The NAEP is authorized by Congress and directed by the National Center for Education Statistics of the U.S. Department of Education. The data suggests that student outcomes in American education are a little better–and in some cases worse–than they were 30 years ago. NAEP reports that only one third of 12
th
 graders are able to perform rigorous reading passages. The average reading levels of black 17-year olds is about 4 years behind that of white students and mathematics scores of this group is about 2 years behind white students (Howard, 2011; U.S. Department of Education, 2010a; Paige, 2011). Differences between white and Hispanic reading scores on the NAEP have been declining consistently since 1975 (U.S. Department of Education, 2010a). The gap between white and Hispanic mathematics scores on NAEP has been declining since 1975, as well (U.S. Department of Education, 2010a). Merely 11% of secondary students demonstrate a good understanding of history. The general standards of American schools compare unfavorably with those of other industrialized nations (U.S. Department of Education, 2010b). NAEP data and International Educational Achievement (IEA) studies suggest that students are not learning how to think. In other words, although student learning of facts and basic skills has improved slightly over the past three decades, the development of more advanced reasoning abilities has declined.To achieve major improvements in student achievement will require fundamental changes in the way subject matter is taught. Classroom teachers at all levels should consider critical thinking and constructivism that offer real promise for improving the achievement of all students in the core subject areas.
Critical Thinking
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Constructivism
Co's(r$(.s! s 'o(%er, so!e%( re)(e+, (re'+ ' e+$(o' (%( $' *)" 
 
+"'!$ ro)e ' (%e re)(o's%* e(ee' %o (e$%ers (e$% '+ %o $%)+re' )er'# O'e fo'+(o')  *re!se of $o's(r$(.s! s (%( $%)+re' $(.e)" $o's(r$( (%er 'o)e+-e, r(%er (%' s!*)" sor'- +es s*oe' (o (%e! " (e$%ers 3Fos'o(, 200@5 P%))*s, 20005 Lro$%e))e, 2010# For e8!*)e, Je' P-e( 3160 *ro*ose+ (%( $%)+re' !e se'se ' "s .er" +ffere'( fro! +)(s, '+ (%( (%e" )er' (%ro-% (%e *ro$ess of (r"'- (o !e (%'-s %**e', (r"'- (o 22

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