The following concept map for a Problem Solving Paradigm illustrates the power of cognitive condensation.

This map clearly shows that problem solving proficiency (or expertise) is built - through practice - on five (5) bases that form equally important sides of a regular pentagon. These bases are "cognitively condensed knowledge," "cognitively condensed skills," "resources," "behavioral base," and "strategy and experience."

The term of "problem solving skills" is a highly misleading one repeated by some well informed sources (see the Journal of College Science Teaching - JCST- 1990 thru 1994). Skills account at best for 1/5th of what it takes to develop, sustain, and hone problem solving expertise or proficiency.

Detailed discussions of this problem solving paradigm (PSP) will be published in the 1996 Proceedings of the Louisiana Academy of Science.

It is crucial to note that some basic and correct subject knowledge is required for problem solving, so are adequate practice that fosters and hones skills, favorable behavioral traits (like careful and complete reading, selection of applicable laws and methods, considering alternatives, etc.), and optimum utilization of available resources that can creatively be extended. Graded homework assignments, one more time, appear to be necessary (by virtue of the Power Law of Performance).

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