Special Education ETDs

Publication Date



The purpose of this study was to determine and compare whether a structured creativity program would improve creative thinking abilities in elementary behaviorally disordered children and elementary regular children. The study examined creativity as a process and contended that behaviorally disordered children would profit synonymously with regular children from learning to think creatively by increasing their repertoire of appropriate responses. The subjects were located in a special adaptation class for the behaviorally disordered and a regular classroom. Hereafter, the term regular children as it appears in the study refers to children undiagnosed for special needs and placed in the regular classroom. The classes were located in an elementary school in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The twelve students in the experimental groups and the six students in the control group were pre- and posttested with the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. The experimental groups were presented with the Purdue Creative Thinking Program. The program consists of taped stories and written exercises which were completed by the subjects twice a week for a 10-week period. During each session, the behaviorally disordered students were given points for efforts to complete the exercises, which later could be traded for tangible rewards, as was the established classroom format. The students in the regular classroom received social praise as their reinforcement for completed exercises. At the end of the program sessions, the experimental groups and control group had significant differences in their posttest total, verbal, and figural scores. There was significant improvement in total, verbal, and figural gain scores for the experimental subjects in the special adaptation classroom. The experimental subjects in the regular classroom made significantly higher verbal gain scores and approached significance in total and figural gain scores. The control group subjects made no significant improvement in their total and figural gain score; however, they made a significant decrease in their verbal gain score. This study does support the general hypothesis that the creative thinking abilities of behaviorally disordered children and regular children can comparably be improved by a structured creative thinking program.

Document Type




Degree Name

Special Education

Level of Degree


Department Name

Special Education

First Committee Member (Chair)

Roger Lee Kroth

Second Committee Member

Henry James Pepe

Third Committee Member

Glenn Van Etten