Teaching Decision Making to Adolescents: A Critical Review
Marilyn Jacobs Quadrel
Carnegie Mellon University
Eugene Research Institute, Eugene, OR
"Problem solving and comprehension," "The complete problem solver," "A decision-making approach to sex education," "Decision skills curriculum," "A curriculum for thinking," "Personal decision making," "Decisions and outcomes," "The decision-making book for children," "Learning to think and choose," "Power and choice"--all are curricula aimed at improving young people's decision-making skills. Moreover, these are just a small subset of the many programs now on the market. Some teach only decision making, whereas others teach decision making as one of many general thinking skills. Some teach decision-making skills in general, while others teach decision making in specific contexts. Their target age varies from kindergarten to college, with a few concentrating on adults.
This proliferation of programs is one response to a widely perceived need to improve higher-order thinking skills in general and decision-making skills in particular, so that adolescents can meet the challenges of today's world ( Resnick, 1987). Here, we take a step back and look critically at the products of this enterprise.
Our review begins by defining decision making in terms of normative approaches describing what constitutes adequate performance. We then review the reasons that have been advanced for teaching decision making. The following section offers a set of criteria for evaluating programs, which