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József Nagy: Criterion-referenced analysis of the development of systemising ability

Informed by the results of ethology, human ethology and the cognitive revolution, the study redefines the area of cognitive competence examined as the Piagetian logic of classes and relations in the second half of the 20th century. Inherent routines of unit and relation recognition, operating on the basis of the PDP model, are proposed as basic elements of the organisation and development of systemising ability. These routines provide the basis for the acquisition of learned routines of unit and relation recognition. These, in turn, build up the systemising skills of thought formation, concept formation, class inclusion (search, selection, sorting), definition, seriation, classification (assignment, division, serial classification and hierarchical classification) and multiaspect systemising. The second part of the study introduces an instrument for the diagnosis and criterion-referenced assessment of the components of systemising ability thus defined and of the characteristics and reliability of a survey that used this instrument with a Hungarian national representative sample of 10-16-year-olds. The third part describes the development of systemising ability on the implicit conceptual level, relative to the criterion of optimal operation. The figures summarising data from the survey show that in the traditional, content-centred paradigm of schooling, less than a quarter of students have optimally operating implicit conceptual level systemising ability by the end of compulsory education. In almost another quarter the implicit conceptual level is hardly present. These students leave school with systemising ability functioning at the manipulative (sensomotor) level. The ability operates partially and erroneously in the remaining half of students. The curve showing the development of the whole population levels out after the 8th grade, i.e. the development stagnates in 14-18-year-olds. The fourth part discusses the pedagogical implications of the possibilities, conditions and tasks of criterion-referenced development, as a potential strategy of addressing this situation.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 103. Number 3. 269-314. (2003)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Nagy József, Szegedi Tudományegyetem, Pedagógiai Tanszék, H–6722 Szeged, Petőfi S. sgt. 30–34.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia