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An analysis of the future Problem Solving Program and its impact on Massachusetts participants

Irene Theresa Czerwiec, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Students need creative thinking, problem solving skills, and knowledge about the future to equip them to deal with our rapidly changing world. At the same time, Proposition 2$1\over2$ and a decrease in state aid are causing school systems to seriously tighten their budgets. Any programs considered "extras" are being eliminated or reduced, especially those targeted for our most able students, the gifted. One of these affected programs is the Future Problem Solving Program (FPSP). There is an unfortunate lack of information about the program and the impact it has on its participants. Although it has been implemented in various schools in Massachusetts since 1979, no studies have been undertaken about the FPSP in this state. Therefore, for this dissertation, an investigation was conducted into the roots, history, and impact of the program. Questionnaires were sent to all adults who had registered as coaches for the FPSP in Massachusetts for the 1988-89 school year. Students who participated during the same year were sent questionnaires through their coaches. Forty-six coaches (43.4%) and 513 students (75.66%) from grades four through twelve participated in the study. The questions in the surveys addressed information about demographics, perceptions of the impact of the FPSP on the student skills that the FPSP aims to develop, and the opinions and reactions of the coaches and students to the FPSP itself and their participation in it. The respondees reported an increase in students' critical and creative thinking, communication skills, awareness of the future, and teamwork due to the FPSP. Research skills were also affected but to a lesser degree. A variety of statistical tests were run on the collected data. Trends were noted and discussed such as the reported advantage in attainment of some skills by females and the positive impact of being on a FPSP team. The FPSP was shown to fulfill its objectives in its participants in Massachusetts and should continue to be offered through the schools.

Subject Area

Curricula|Teaching|Special education|Education

Recommended Citation

Czerwiec, Irene Theresa, "An analysis of the future Problem Solving Program and its impact on Massachusetts participants" (1992). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9233050.