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See detailConstruct validity of complex problem solving: A comprehensive view on different facets of intelligence and school grades
Kretzschmar, André UL; Neubert, Jonas UL; Wüstenberg, Sascha UL et al

in Intelligence (2016), 54

Although Complex Problem Solving (CPS) has attracted increasing amounts of attention in recent years (e.g., PISA study), the role of CPS in the nomological network of intelligence is controversial. The ... [more ▼]

Although Complex Problem Solving (CPS) has attracted increasing amounts of attention in recent years (e.g., PISA study), the role of CPS in the nomological network of intelligence is controversial. The question of whether CPS is a distinct construct is as old as CPS research itself, but previous studies have had specific shortcomings when addressing the question of whether CPS is a separable or independent construct. The aim of the present study was, therefore, to combine the advantages of previous studies to facilitate a less biased view of the relation between CPS and established intelligence constructs. A sample of 227 German university students worked on a comprehensive measure of intelligence (Berlin Intelligence Structure test) and two CPS assessment tools (MicroDYN and MicroFIN). Furthermore, final school grades (GPA) served as an external criterion. We applied confirmatory factor analyses and structural equation modeling to investigate the relation between CPS and established intelligence constructs on the basis of different psychometric approaches (i.e., first-order model, nested factor model). Moreover, we examined the incremental validity of CPS in explaining GPA beyond established intelligence constructs. Results indicate that CPS represents unique variance that is not accounted for by established intelligence constructs. The incremental validity of CPS was found only when a commonly used narrow operationalization of intelligence was applied (i.e., figural reasoning) but not when a broad operationalization was applied. [less ▲]

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See detailKonstruktvalidität des Komplexen Problemlösens unter besonderer Berücksichtigung moderner diagnostischer Ansätze
Kretzschmar, André UL

Doctoral thesis (2015)

This thesis addresses the question whether Complex Problem Solving (CPS) could be seen as a distinct cognitive ability construct that is not considered sufficiently in the context of established theories ... [more ▼]

This thesis addresses the question whether Complex Problem Solving (CPS) could be seen as a distinct cognitive ability construct that is not considered sufficiently in the context of established theories of intelligence. For this purpose, an introduction into the research field of CPS is provided in the first part of this thesis (chapter 1). It is shown that CPS research has always been strongly influenced by the quality of the assessment tools. Therefore, to evaluate whether CPS is an independent construct requires a particular emphasis on the quality of the CPS assessment tools. Consequently, the second part of this work deals with the assessment of CPS. In chapter 2, the general challenges for CPS assessment as well as important advantages and disadvantages of contemporary CPS assessment tools (using the example of MicroDYN) are discussed. In chapter 3, the development and first empirical results of a new CPS assessment tool called MicroFIN are presented. Chapter 4 covers a particular relevant topic of computer-based CPS assessment: the influence of ICT literacy (i.e. the competence in using computers) on specific CPS assessment tools. For this purpose, the impact of ICT literacy on MicroDYN performance is examined in three different samples (N1 = 222, N2 = 341, N3 = 389). In addition, based on a sample of a pilot study (N = 91) the influence of ICT literacy on MicroFIN performance is presented. The results indicate that the impact of ICT Literacy appears neither for MicroDYN nor for MicroFIN as a threat of test validity. The third part of this work covers the central question of this thesis, that is whether CPS could be seen as a distinct cognitive ability construct that is independent of established intelligence constructs. Therefore, several criteria for an independent ability construct are discussed in chapter 5. Taking current research findings for CPS into account, open research questions for the assumption of a distinct CPS construct are examined in two empirical studies. Study 2 (chapter 6; N = 1908) focuses on the incremental validity of CPS beyond verbal reasoning in explaining the variance of school grades. For the first time in current CPS research, additional predictors for school grades (i.e. school competencies) in the mathematical and the reading domain are considered. The results indicate an incremental validity of CPS in the mathematical, but not in the reading domain. In addition, the study provides evidence that the incremental validity of CPS holds only to a small degree if relevant predictors of school grades are simultaneously taken into account. In study 3 (chapter 7; N = 227), the validity of CPS is examined with a comprehensive operationalisation of several intelligence constructs. The results indicate evidence for convergent and discriminant validity. Consequently, CPS could be seen as a specific cognitive ability that is less covered by traditional intelligence tests. With regard to the incremental validity of CPS, evidence for a statistical prediction of school grades beyond established intelligence constructs is only found for a specific, but not for a construct-representative operationalisation of intelligence. In chapter 8, an alternative interpretation of the specific CPS variance is discussed. Based on that interpretation, which has not been considered in CPS research yet, CPS can be seen as a specific content facet of cognitive tasks, but not as an independent cognitive ability. In the last part of this thesis (chapter 9), the findings and considerations concerning the assessment and construct validity of CPS are summarized. Considering current CPS assessment tools and the results for MicroFIN, research questions that are still open and the potential for future CPS assessment are presented. Furthermore, the findings from study 2 and 3 are reviewed with regard to the criteria for an independent ability construct. Finally, the assumption of a distinct CPS construct in the nomological network of intelligence is evaluated. Although further research is needed to clarify this issue, currently the assumption of a distinct CPS construct independent from established intelligence constructs does not seem justified. [less ▲]

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See detailDeterminants of individual occupational careers in the 21st century. Does complex problem solving matter beyond general mental ability?
Mainert, Jakob UL; Kretzschmar, André UL; Neubert, Jonas UL et al

Scientific Conference (2015, May 21)

Purpose Complex problem solving (CPS) describes the interaction with dynamic and nonroutine tasks, and has been included in PISA 2012 as a factor for employability. This study examines whether CPS can ... [more ▼]

Purpose Complex problem solving (CPS) describes the interaction with dynamic and nonroutine tasks, and has been included in PISA 2012 as a factor for employability. This study examines whether CPS can also contribute to the prediction of career advancement in jobs beyond general mental ability (GMA) as one of the best predictors. Design/Methodology Using latent structural equation modeling (SEM), we analyzed a sample of technicians, service/trade workers, and assemblers (n=245) at a German automotive company. A computer-based assessment measured participants' CPS and GMA levels. The dependent variables were the participants’ job level (ISCO-08) and professional training days. Results CPS and GMA both correlated significantly with career advancement (from .18 to .26, all p < .01). The models showed good fit and indicated that CPS explained incremental variance in one of two indicators (β = .14 for trainings, p < .05; ΔR2 = .02) in comparison with GMA alone (β = .24, p < 0.01; R2= .06). Limitations Analyses did not include processes information from CPS assessment as potential advantage. The company-based sample and cross-sectional data restrict inferences. Research Implications Our findings suggest positive relations between CPS and career advancement even when controlling for GMA. Hence, CPS could be a valuable addition for the study of careers and personnel selection test batteries. Originality/Value The first evaluation of CPS in career research gave a general indication of an as-yet-to-be-defined role of CPS, especially when considering the task characteristics compared to complex and demanding jobs, and process data available through CPS. [less ▲]

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See detailComplex problem solving within the nomological network of intelligence
Kretzschmar, André UL; Neubert, Jonas UL; Wüstenberg, Sascha UL et al

Scientific Conference (2015, April)

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See detailThematic workshop on complex problem solving.
Greiff, Samuel UL; Mainert, Jakob UL; Kretzschmar, André UL

Scientific Conference (2015)

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See detailExtending the assessment of Complex Problem Solving to finite state automata. Embracing heterogeneity
Neubert, Jonas UL; Kretzschmar, André UL; Wüstenberg, Sascha UL et al

in European Journal of Psychological Assessment (2015), 31

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See detailA study on the training of complex problem solving competence.
Kretzschmar, André UL; Süß, Heinz-Martin

in Journal of Dynamic Decision Making (2015)

This study examined whether experience with different computer-based complex problem situations would improve complex problem solving (CPS) competence in an unknown problem situation. We had N = 110 ... [more ▼]

This study examined whether experience with different computer-based complex problem situations would improve complex problem solving (CPS) competence in an unknown problem situation. We had N = 110 university students take part in a control group study. They were trained in five different complex problem situations for up to 7 hr, and their performance was tested in a sixth complex problem situation. The data analyses revealed that the training influenced the CPS process of knowledge acquisition. However, the CPS process of knowledge application was not impacted by experience with other problem situations. Implications for the concept of CPS as a trainable competence as well as the training of CPS in general are discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Assessment of 21st Century Skills in Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Complex and Collaborative Problem Solving
Neubert, Jonas UL; Mainert, Jakob UL; Kretzschmar, André UL et al

in Industrial and Organizational Psychology (2015), 8(2), 1-31

In the current paper, we highlight why and how industrial and organizational psychology can take advantage of research on 21st century skills and their assessment. We present vital theoretical ... [more ▼]

In the current paper, we highlight why and how industrial and organizational psychology can take advantage of research on 21st century skills and their assessment. We present vital theoretical perspectives, a suitable framework for assessment, and exemplary instruments with a focus on advances in the assessment of Human Capital. Specifically, Complex Problem Solving (CPS) and Collaborative Problem Solving (ColPS) are two transversal skills (i.e., skills that span multiple domains) that are generally considered critical in the 21st century workplace. The assessment of these skills in education has linked fundamental research with practical applicability and has provided a useful template for workplace assessment. Both CPS and ColPS capture the interaction of individuals with problems that require the active acquisition and application of knowledge in individual or group settings. To ignite a discussion in industrial and organizational psychology, we discuss advances in the assessment of CPS and ColPS and propose ways to move beyond the current state of the art in assessing job-related skills. [less ▲]

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See detailDeterminants of Individual Occupational Careers in the 21st Century – Why Complex Problem Solving Matters Beyond General Mental Ability
Mainert, Jakob UL; Kretzschmar, André UL; Müller, Jonas UL et al

Scientific Conference (2014, August 27)

The OECD (2010) views problem solving as essential for lifelong learning. Recently, the 2012 PISA cycle administered domain-general problems, which featured the complexity of the structure, dynamics and ... [more ▼]

The OECD (2010) views problem solving as essential for lifelong learning. Recently, the 2012 PISA cycle administered domain-general problems, which featured the complexity of the structure, dynamics and interconnections of variables, and intransparency of the situation. This emphasis on domain-general problems expresses a paradigmatic shift to lifelong learning. In an attempt towards an integrative process theory of CPS, Fischer, Greiff and Funke (2012) portray knowledge acquisition and knowledge application as the core processes of CPS, which are distinguishable from classical cognitive ability (Dörner, 1986). These core processes are assessed in research via innovative computer-based microworlds. These microworlds simulate complex problems, which share features with real world problems, require knowledge acquisition and knowledge application for a successful task completion and offer a wide range of tasks and approaches (Greiff, Holt, et al., 2013; Greiff, Fischer, et al., 2013). Initiatives looking for the facilitation of so-called 21st century skills (e.g., Griffin, McGaw, & Care, 2012; National Research Council, 2012a; OECD, 2013a, 2013b) strongly relate CPS to demands for professional development as resulting from shifts towards non-routine problem solving and communication tasks in the working lives of adults (e.g., successfully adapting towards IT-depending occupations; Autor, Levy, & Murnane, 2003). So far, the application of CPS in research and practice has mainly been restricted to primary and secondary education. Lifespan or educational research on the role of transversal cognitive skills such as CPS for learning later in life is scarce at best and adult education practice fails to fully tap into the requirements of a working reality (Smith & Reio, 2006), which is defined by uncertainties, contradictions, and dynamic changes. CPS is considered to be important for lifelong learning and occupational success, but underrepresented in research and practice. As a consequence, adult education’s mission to provide opportunities for career preparation (e.g., Gianakos, 1996) and intellectual growth (Perry, 1999) seem to be at risk. Hence, the research goals in this study are to (1) enlarge the understanding for determinants of occupational career indicators (e.g. lifelong learning efforts) and eventually (2) encourage the inclusion of CPS on the adult educational research and practice agenda. Our research goals are built on a rich research fundus of the impact of GMA on professional development (e.g., Schmidt & Hunter, 1998) and promising results on the predictive validity of CPS for academic achievement (e.g., Schweizer, Wüstenberg, & Greiff, 2013; Sonnleitner, Keller, Martin, & Brunner, 2013; Wüstenberg, Greiff, & Funke, 2012) and occupational performance (Abele et al., 2012; Danner et al., 2011). Hence, the targeted constructs are GMA, and CPS as a transversal cognitive skill in occupational careers and professional development. [less ▲]

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See detailEditorial zum Themenheft Problemlösen in der Pädagogischen Psychologie
Greiff, Samuel UL; Kretzschmar, André UL; Leutner, Detlev

in Zeitschrift für Pädagogische Psychologie (2014), 28

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See detailExtending the Assessment of Complex Problem Solving to Finite State Automata: Embracing Heterogeneity
Neubert, Jonas UL; Kretzschmar, André UL; Wüstenberg, Sascha UL et al

in European Journal of Psychological Assessment (2014), Advance Online Publication

Recent advancements in the assessment of Complex Problem Solving (CPS) build on the use of homogenous tasks that enable the reliable estimation of CPS skills. The range of problems featured in established ... [more ▼]

Recent advancements in the assessment of Complex Problem Solving (CPS) build on the use of homogenous tasks that enable the reliable estimation of CPS skills. The range of problems featured in established instruments such as MicroDYN is consequently limited to a specific subset of homogeneous complex problems. This restriction is problematic when looking at domain-specific examples of complex problems, which feature characteristics absent from current assessment instruments (e.g., threshold states). We propose to utilize the formal framework of Finite State Automata (FSA) to extend the range of problems included in CPS assessment. An approach based on FSA, called MicroFIN, is presented, translated into specific tasks, and empirically investigated. We conducted an empirical study (N = 576), (1) inspecting the psychometric features of MicroFIN, (2) relating it to MicroDYN, and (3) investigating the relations to a measure of reasoning (i.e., CogAT). MicroFIN (1) exhibited adequate measurement characteristics and multitrait- multimethod models indicated (2) the convergence of latent dimensions measured with MicroDYN. Relations to reasoning (3) were moderate and comparable to the ones previously found for MicroDYN. Empirical results and corresponding explanations are discussed. More importantly, MicroFIN highlights the feasibility of expanding CPS assessment to a larger spectrum of complex problems. [less ▲]

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