CEITR Member Presentation: Screen Time, Critical Thinking, and Morality

CEITR Member Presentation: Screen Time, Critical Thinking, and Morality

Screen Time, Critical Thinking, and Morality

Congratulations to Dr. Liz Young and her graduate student, Dr. Margaret Vianna for their presentation at World Association for Academic Doctors, available at 






In this mixed methods study, twelfth grade students enrolled in the IB Program (International Baccalaureate) were asked to examine daily time spent on media devices for leisure and school-related activities.  In the qualitative part of the study, high school students were asked to respond to an age appropriate version of the Heinz dilemma wherein the original story line was changed from a husband/wife scenario to a child/mother scenario to solicit the thinking of high school students on Heinz’s behavior and the consequences of the behavior. The first goal of the study was to determine if there was a relationship between the number of hours students spent each day divided into two categories: school work and fun time. Students’ critical thinking skills were measured by scaling their responses to a critical thinking test from scores ranging from 4 to 1. Students’ responses were measured on the Holistic Critical Thinking Scoring Rubric (HCTSR) created by Facione and Facione (1994).  Forty-two high school students in a private American school in Brasilia participated in the study.  The primary research question that supported the purpose of this mixed methods study was Is there a relationship between screen time and students’ critical thinking skills? Students’ mean of their critical thinking scores was 2. 47, and the average time spent on media was 8.57 hours.  The study findings evidenced no correlation between students’ critical thinking scores and time spent on media. 


Analysis of the essays evidenced the students were analyzing the dilemma with respect to their interpretation of morality and ethics.  A second analysis is underway to determine which of the three overarching categories of morality according to Kohlberg’s morality scale (preconventional, conventional and postconventional) (1958).   


Facione, P. A., &  Facione, N. C. (1994). Holistic Critical Thinking Scoring Rubric.

       Retrieved March 10, 2004. http:/www.insightassessment.com


Kohlberg, L. (1976). Moral stages and moralization: The cognitive- developmental approach. In T. Lickona (Ed.), Moral development and behavior: Theory, research and social issues (pp. 31-53). New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.


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