The Investigation of The Impact of The Science Learning Environments Promoting 21st Century Skills’ Development on Middle School Students’ Problem-Solving Skills, Creative Thinking Abilities, and Conceptual Learning Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Nihal DOĞAN Bolu Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey E-mail:


The developments in science-technology and global problems in the 21st century require students to be equipped with cognitive skills and content knowledge compatible with the needs of this context. In line with this, in this study, the impact of modules promoting the development of 21st century skills on middle school students’ problem solving, creative thinking, and conceptual learning was examined with qualitative-quantitative research methodologies. N=218 5th, 6th and 7th grade students participated in the study. To test the impact of the modules scientifically, the module interventions, namely Problem-Based Learning & History of Science Modules, were carried out for one year in the experimental groups (N=141), while the control groups (N=77) were taught with current curricular activities. In the study, students’ domain-specific problem-solving skills and the development of these skills were assessed through the responses given to the scenarios and open-ended questions in the module contents and via the rubrics developed. Torrance Creative Thinking Tests (TCTT) were used to examine the changes in creative thinking skills while the examination of the impact of modules on conceptual learning was carried out through the authentic assessment tools designed in the module contents.  The results showed that there were improvements in the problem definition-solution generation strategy skill levels of the students in the experimental group; and the factors such as age, cognitive development, prior knowledge, schema structures, problem-solving experiences were found to be effective in the development of these skills. Findings related to creative thinking skills showed that the total mean scores of the students in the experimental group were found higher than the control groups and the mean scores of students were found to gradually increase with grade level. The findings in the context of conceptual learning indicated that the number of concepts related to the variety of science subjects increased in all groups; however, in terms of scientifically correct using of these concepts, the students in the experimental group outperformed the control groups. As a result of the study, a multidimensional learning environment model that is aligned with content-skill integrated 21st century teaching paradigms was proposed.

Keywords: 21st Century skills, Problem-solving skills, Creative thinking abilities, Middle school students, Problem-solving skills rubric

Dissertation Full Reference:

Özer, F. (2021). The investigation of the impact of the science learning environments promoting 21st century skills’ development on middle school students’ problem-solving skills, creative thinking abilities, and conceptual learning (In Turkish). Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Bolu Abant İzzet Baysal University, Bolu, Turkey.


Ferah ÖZER, Ph.D.

Bogazici University, Department of Mathematics and Science Education

Faculty of Education, North Campus, Istanbul, Turkey