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QUESTION/PROBLEM: Critical Thinking Skills - Definitions and Assessment

last updated September 8, 1997

Example queries:

How do I incorporate the development of critical thinking skills into the curriculum?

What assessments are available for measuring students' critical thinking skills?

What type of critical thinking might be associated with acquiring any type of masters degree in alternative medicine?

Table of Contents


The convergence of the movements towards more rigorous educational standards and authentic, performance based assessment has elicited a simultaneous focus on the development and assessment of critical (or, higher order) thinking skills. One definition of critical thinking developed by the Kellogg Center for Adult Learning Research (Montana State University) is: "a parallel process by which individuals analyze given information in a contextually specific situation and create new ideas, concepts, or constructs based on their analysis." Alternate definitions abound, however, and are covered in the ERIC documents that are cited below.

Two of the most important issues pertaining to the promotion of critical thinking skills in the classroom are: 1) changes in teachers' classroom management techniques, and 2) assessments that go beyond the measurement of mere recall. Therefore, the appended citations reflect: 1) both interdisciplinary and subject-specific approaches to the incorporation of critical thinking skills into elementary, secondary, and postsecondary curricula, and 2) the assessment of critical thinking skills by both standardized and non-standardized measures.

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ERIC/AE Test Locator
Use the ETS/ERIC Test File and the Test Review Locator to identify descriptions and critiques of appropriate measures by typing in the phrase "critical thinking" at the prompts.

/cthink - The Critical Thinking Community
Resources for the advancement of critical thinking skills from elementary through higher education of four, separate non-profit organizations are represented here, including curriculum guidelines, lesson plans, and an online full-text library.

Critical Thinking Across the Curriculum Project
Although sponsored by Longview Community College (Missouri) with an emphasis on postsecondary education applications, the definitions of critical thinking, the coverage of the methods of logic, and pointers to other pertinent sources make this a valuable resource for secondary level practitioners, too.

[Table of Contents]


ERIC Documents Citations for Definitions of Critical Thinking
  ED381748  CS012101
  Critical Thinking. Fastback 385.
  Beyer, Barry K.
  ISBN: 0-87367-385-9
  Available From: Phi Delta Kappa, 408 N. Union, P.O. Box 789, 
Bloomington, IN 47402-0789 ($1.25 plus processing fee).
  EDRS Price - MF01 Plus Postage. PC Not Available from EDRS.
  Document Type: POSITION PAPER (120);  TEACHING GUIDE (052)
  This fastback distills the essential features of critical thinking, 
as identified by prominent specialists in the field, and presents 
them in a way that is immediately usable in the classroom.  After 
presenting a definition of critical thinking, the fastback discusses 
the necessary elements of critical thinking--dispositions, criteria, 
argument, reasoning, point of view, and procedures for applying 
criteria and judging.  The fastback also presents an example of 
critical thinking in action and a discussion of using critical 
thinking.  It addresses the trouble with critical thinking and 
discusses why critical thinking is so important.  Contains 19 
references and 11 resources for further study.  (RS)
  Descriptors: *Critical Thinking; Definitions; Elementary Secondary 
Education; *Persuasive Discourse; Skill Development; Thinking Skills
  Identifiers: Educational Issues

  EJ530564  CS752283
  Critical Thinking Lacks Definition and Uniform Evaluation Criteria.
  Ruminski, Henry J.; Hanks, William E.
  Journalism and Mass Communication Educator, v50 n3 p4-11 Aut 
  ISSN: 1077-6958
  Document Type: RESEARCH REPORT (143);  JOURNAL ARTICLE (080)
  Investigates how members of the Association for Education in 
Journalism and Mass Communication define, teach, and measure critical 
thinking.  Finds that members believe they are teaching critical 
thinking, but they seem not to do so in a systematic or well-defined 
manner.  Finds that evaluation of critical thinking is neither 
uniform nor systematic.  (SR)
  Descriptors: *Critical Thinking; Definitions; Educational Research; 
*Evaluation Criteria; *Evaluation Methods; Higher Education; 
*Journalism Education; National Surveys; School Surveys; *Teaching 

  ED368478  PS022203
  Developing 21st Century Strong Sense Critical Thinkers.
  Fluellen, Jerry
  30 Jan 1994
  Document Type: POSITION PAPER (120)
  Drawing on the writings of Jean Piaget, Paulo Freire, Yoneji 
Masuda, John Naisbitt, and others, this paper examines the purposes 
of education and posits a model for developing strong sense critical 
thinking (SSCT) skills among elementary school students.  Part I 
examines the purpose of education, while Part II discusses SSCT, 
defined as the ability to question one's own framework of thought, to 
understand the arguments and rationale of others, and to reason 
dialectically in such a way as to determine when one's own point of 
view is at its weakest and when an opposing point of view is at its 
strongest.  Part III examines possible scenarios for developing SSCT 
skills at Philadelphia's Joseph Pennell Academics Plus elementary 
school, outlining best case, worst case, and probable scenarios.  
Parts IV and V look at the historical context for developing SSCT, 
while Part VI outlines future possibilities for an SSCT program at 
the Joseph Pennell school.  Contains a 40-item annotated bibliography.  
  Descriptors: *Critical Thinking; *Curriculum Development; 
Definitions; *Educational Theories; Elementary Education; Elementary 
Schools; *Elementary School Students; Models; Persuasive Discourse; 
Program Descriptions; *Thinking Skills
  Identifiers: Freire (Paulo); Masuda (Yoneji); Naisbitt (John); 
Pennsylvania (Philadelphia); Piaget (Jean)

  ED366988  CS214240
  How Persuasive Writing Aids Critical Thinking.
  Burkhalter, Nancy
  Nov 1993
  17p.; Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech 
Communication Association (79th, Miami Beach, FL, November 18-21, 
  Document Type: CONFERENCE PAPER (150);  POSITION PAPER (120);  
  Even though the importance of critical thinking skills has been 
recognized and studied by experts in several fields, the research has 
not yielded a clear definition, nor has a clear explanation been 
proffered of how writing can foster critical thinking.  This article 
reviews the literature on the various definitions of critical 
thinking and examines how critical thinking can be promoted through 
writing.  Persuasive writing can especially help the acquisition of 
critical thinking skills because: (1) that genre calls upon several 
of the same higher-level thinking skills as critical thinking; (2) it 
forces students to think in concepts because the organizational 
structure requires connection of ideas through a hierarchy of thesis 
statements and topic sentences; and (3) it teaches writers to create 
their own alternatives to problems instead of merely analyzing those 
of others.  (Contains 52 references.) (Author)
  Descriptors: *Critical Thinking; Definitions; Higher Education; 
Literature Reviews; *Persuasive Discourse; *Thinking Skills; Writing 
  Identifiers: *Writing Thinking Relationship

  EJ455703  EA527445
  Critical Thinking Skills: Definitions, Implications for 
  Young, Lynne E.
  NASSP Bulletin, v76 n548 p47-54 Dec   1992
  ISSN: 0192-6365
  Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080);  EVALUATIVE REPORT (142)
  Despite problems of skill definition and implementation, educators 
are now being urged to incorporate higher order thinking skills and 
instruction into their classrooms.  A primary barrier is teachers' 
orientation toward covering or dispensing knowledge, rather than 
working with it.  The current teacher-dominated format must change to 
a more student-centered approach with interactive learning 
opportunities.  (15 references) (MLH)
  Descriptors: *Class Activities; *Creative Thinking; *Critical 
Thinking; *Definitions; Elementary Secondary Education; *Thinking 

  EJ390022  UD514211
  Critical Thinking and Subject Specificity: Clarification and Needed 
  Ennis, Robert H.
  Educational Researcher, v18 n3 p4-10 Apr   1989
  Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080);  POSITION PAPER (120)
  Examines the meaning of subject specificity, a crucial aspect of 
teaching and assessing critical thinking.  Discusses a number of 
distinctions, including a distinction among domain, epistemological, 
and conceptual subject specificity.  Outlines future research needs.  
  Descriptors: Academic Education; *Concept Formation; *Critical 
Thinking; *Definitions; Elementary Secondary Education; Epistemology; 
Instructional Development; *Intellectual Disciplines; Research Needs; 
  Identifiers: *Specificity; *Subject Content Knowledge

  ED320015  CE055109
  Critical Thinking in Adulthood.
  Fulton, Rodney D.
  Document Type: REVIEW LITERATURE (070)
  Critical thinking is often defined as that which a particular 
instrument measures.  The most prominent tests are the Watson-Glaser 
Critical Thinking Appraisal, the Ennis-Weir Critical Thinking Essay 
Test, and the Cornell Critical Thinking Tests.  Watson and Glaser's 
(1980) view of critical thinking is "a composite of attitudes, 
knowledge, and skills." Ennis (1984) uses the terms "critical 
thinking," "informal logic," and "reasoning" roughly interchangeably, 
defining critical thinking as "reflective and reasonable thinking 
that is focused on deciding what to believe or do." Based on this 
definition, Ennis's model posits 13 dispositions and 12 abilities 
that together make up critical thinking.  From the field of adult 
education, a simplified concept of critical thinking emerges.  
Brookfield's (1987) definition of critical thinking is a productive 
and positive emotive and rational process that is triggered by both 
positive and negative life events.  The following definition of 
critical thinking was used for the learning strategies instrument 
developed by the Kellogg Center for Adult Learning Research, Montana 
State University: "a parallel process by which individuals analyze 
given information in a contextually specific situation and create new 
ideas, concepts, or constructs based on their analysis." According to 
this model, there are four general strategies necessary for critical 
thinking, two of which are analytical (recognizing and testing 
assumptions, and assessing contextual parameters) and two of which 
are creative (generating and testing alternatives, and conditional 
acceptance).  (105 references) (KC)
  Descriptors: *Adult Education; Adult Students; *Critical Thinking; 
*Definitions; Educational Philosophy; Educational Research; *Learning 
Strategies; Measures (Individuals); Postsecondary Education; *
Thinking Skills
  Identifiers: *Ennis Weir Critical Thinking Essay Test; *Watson 
Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal

  EJ316045  SO513858
  Critical Thinking: What Is It?
  Beyer, Barry K.
  Social Education, v49 n4 p270-76 Apr   1985
  Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080);  POSITION PAPER (120)
  Target Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
  Developing an accurate, commonly accepted definition of critical 
thinking is absolutely essential.  This article proposes and 
discusses such a definition.  Critical thinking is defined as the 
process of determining the authenticity, accuracy, and worth of 
information or knowledge claims.  It consists of a number of discrete 
skills.  (RM)
  Descriptors: *Critical Thinking; *Definitions; Educational History; 
*Educational Needs; Educational Objectives; Elementary Secondary 
Education; Skill Development; *Social Studies

  EJ307583  SO513233
  What's in a Skill? Defining the Thinking Skills We Teach.
  Beyer, Barry K.
  Social Science Record, v21 n2 p19-23 Fall   1984
  Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080);  TEACHING GUIDE (052)
  Target Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
  To improve the teaching of thinking skills, social studies teachers 
need to identify and select a few key skills on which to focus 
continuously throughout the K-12 social studies curricula.  They also 
need to identify the attributes of these skills.  A model skill 
description is included.  (RM)
  Descriptors: *Basic Skills; *Critical Thinking; *Curriculum 
Development; Definitions; Elementary Secondary Education; Models; 
*Skill Development; *Social Studies

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ERIC Documents Citations for Assessment of Critical Thinking
  ED392781  SP036529
  Diversity in Assessment Procedures.
  Boe, Barbara L.
  Feb 1996
  22p.; Paper presented at the American Association of Colleges for 
Teacher Education Conference (48th, Chicago, IL, February 21-24, 
  This paper looks at using collective critical thinking about issues 
as an assessment technique instead of or in addition to written tests.   A
substantial literature review examines the role of assessment and 
alternative strategies such as group oral exams in classes where 
cooperative activities and learning have been emphasized.  The review 
reveals that a group oral exam works effectively.  In a non-
threatening environment, students use individual input and reflection 
as well as group skills to synthesize group responses.  Examples of 
use of group oral exams as an assessment procedure are described, 
including the group dynamics and outcomes: (1) a final group oral 
exam for an experimental class which focused on cooperative 
activities, panel discussions, forums, etc.; (2) a fourth-grade class 
preparing a letter to a state senator regarding rain forest 
destruction; (3) a mock school board meeting; and (4) a final exam 
from an experimental class.  Findings from the use of group oral 
exams indicate that such exams reduce anxiety, promote critical 
thinking and analysis rather than just retrieval of information, are 
applicable in many disciplines, develop consensus building skills, 
and demonstrate democracy in action.  Though not applicable to every 
content subject or unit of work, where it is an appropriate 
assessment/evaluative instrument, group oral testing appears to be 
very effective.  Examples of final exams and study guides are 
included in an appendix.  (Contains 16 references.) (ND)
  Descriptors: *Cooperative Learning; *Critical Thinking; Elementary 
Education; *Evaluation Methods; *Group Activities; *Group Testing; 
Higher Education; Literature Reviews; Preservice Teacher Education; 
*Student Evaluation
  Identifiers: Group Oral Review; *Oral Examinations

  EJ534552  JC507590
  The Disposition to Think Critically Among Community College 
Students: The California Critical Thinking Dispositions Inventory.
  Bers, Trudy H.; And Others
  Journal of General Education, v45 n3 p197-223   1996
  ISSN: 0021-3667
  Document Type: RESEARCH REPORT (143);  JOURNAL ARTICLE (080)
  Describes the California Critical Thinking Dispositions Inventory 
(CCTDI), highlighting the test's seven subscales: inquisitiveness, 
open-mindedness, systematicity, analyticity, truth-seeking, critical 
thinking self-confidence, and maturity.  Presents findings from a 
study using the CCTDI to determine the relationship between community 
college students' disposition to think critically and their 
characteristics and academic performance.  (37 citations) (AJL)
  Descriptors: *Affective Measures; Community Colleges; Correlation; 
*Critical Thinking; Measures (Individuals); Student Attitudes; 
*Student Characteristics; Thinking Skills; Two Year Colleges; *Two 
Year College Students
  Identifiers: *California Critical Thinking Dispositions Invntry

  ED403302  TM026026
  Assessing EFL Student Progress in Critical Thinking with the Ennis-
Weir Critical Thinking Essay Test.
  Davidson, Bruce W.; Dunham, Rodney L.
  22p.; Paper presented at the Annual International Conference of the 
Japan Association for Language Teaching (21st, Nagoya, Japan, 
November 5, 1995) and at the International Conference on Critical 
Thinking and Educational Reform (16th, Rohnert Park, CA, July 18-31, 
  Document Type: RESEARCH REPORT (143);  CONFERENCE PAPER (150)
  Recent trends in the teaching of English as a Foreign Language 
(EFL) or English as a Second Language (ESL) have emphasized the 
importance of promoting thinking as an integral part of English 
language pedagogy; however, empirical research has not established 
that training in thinking skills can be combined effectively with 
EFL/ESL instruction.  In this study, the Ennis-Weir Critical Thinking 
Essay Test was used to assess progress in critical thinking after a 
year of intensive academic English instruction for 36 Japanese 
students enrolled in a private two-year women's junior college in 
Oaska, Japan.  A control group received only content-based intensive 
English instruction, while the treatment group received additional 
training in critical thinking.  The treatment group scored 
significantly higher on the test ("p" =0.000).  The results imply 
that critical thinking skills can indeed be taught as part of 
academic EFL/ESL instruction.  (Contains 3 tables and 26 references.) 
  Descriptors: *College Students; *Critical Thinking; *English 
(Second Language); Essay Tests; Females; Foreign Countries; *Second 
Language Learning; *Teaching Methods; Two Year Colleges
  Identifiers: *Ennis Weir Critical Thinking Essay Test; Japanese 

  ED398554  CS012572
  Improving Higher Order Thinking Skills in Language Arts.
  Fairgrieve, Susan; Walton, Nancy
  May 1996
  62p.; M.A. Project, Saint Xavier University.
  Document Type: DISSERTATION (040);  RESEARCH REPORT (143)
  This report describes a program that used both critical and 
creative thinking skills to enhance the educational process in 
language arts.  The targeted population consisted of fourth- and 
seventh-grade students in two growing, middle-class communities 
located in northern Illinois.  The lack of higher-order thinking 
skills was documented through teacher-made inventories, teacher-made 
content area tests, and a thinking skills rubric.  Analysis of 
probable cause data revealed that students lacked skills related to 
higher-order thinking, lacked the ability to explain problem-solving 
strategies, and lacked the ability to transfer knowledge to new 
situations.  Educators consistently fail to provide explicit 
instruction in higher-order thinking skills and resist change in 
teaching practices and curriculum to include the needed instruction.  
Reviews of curricula and instructional strategies revealed a 
curricular under-emphasis on information pertaining to higher-order 
thinking skills.  A review of solution strategies combined with an 
analysis of the problem setting resulted in the selection of one 
intervention--an implementation of a teacher-constructed program with 
an increased emphasis on higher-order thinking processes.  Post 
intervention data indicated an increase in student use of higher-
order thinking skills.  (Contains 30 references, and 4 tables and 2 
figures of data.  Appendixes present assessment instruments, rubrics, 
and 10 sample lessons concerning brainstorming, predicting, 
compare/contrast, questioning, cause/effect, sequencing, problem-
solving, and inferring.) (Author/RS)
  Descriptors: Action Research; Creative Activities; *Critical 
Thinking; Educational Research; Grade 4; Grade 7; Instructional 
Effectiveness; Intermediate Grades; Junior High Schools; *Language 
Arts; *Problem Solving; *Thinking Skills
  Identifiers: Illinois (North)

  EJ508301  EC611702
  Curriculum-Based Measurement in Middle and High Schools: Critical 
Thinking Skills in Content Areas.
  Tindal, Gerald; Nolet, Victor
  Focus on Exceptional Children, v27 n7 p1-22 Mar   1995
  ISSN: 0015-511X
  Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080);  POSITION PAPER (120)
  The application of middle school and high school curriculum-based 
management (CBM) to critical thinking in content areas is discussed.  
The article outlines essential features of critical thinking 
assessments, development of CBM problem-solving prompts, and examples 
of scoring systems.  An example involving a student with learning 
disabilities is included.  (SW)
  Descriptors: *Critical Thinking; *Curriculum Based Assessment; *
Evaluation Methods; Evaluation Needs; High Schools; Intermediate 
Grades; Junior High Schools; Learning Disabilities; *Measurement 
Techniques; Middle Schools; Problem Solving; Secondary School 
Curriculum; Student Evaluation; *Thinking Skills

  EJ499944  JC506985
  The Disposition toward Critical Thinking.
  Facione, Peter A.; And Others
  Journal of General Education, v44 n1 p1-25   1995
  ISSN: 0021-3667
  Document Type: RESEARCH REPORT (143);  JOURNAL ARTICLE (080)
  Describes characteristics of critical thinking and the relationship 
of critical thinking skills to a disposition toward critical thought.  
Reviews the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory, a 
research instrument designed to measure several elements of student 
critical thinking skills.  Highlights findings from a study of 
college freshmen using the inventory.  (58 citations).  (MAB)
  Descriptors: *Cognitive Processes; College Students; *Critical 
Thinking; *Evaluative Thinking; Higher Education; *Logical Thinking; 
Measures (Individuals); *Thinking Skills
  Identifiers: *California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory

  EJ507467  SO526615
  Demystifying Critical Thinking.
  Halonen, Jane S.
  Teaching of Psychology, v22 n1 p75-81 Feb   1995
  Theme issue topic: "Psychologists Teach Critical Thinking."
  ISSN: 0098-6283
  Target Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
  Contends that no single definition of critical thinking is widely 
accepted.  Describes issues related to critical thinking and offers 
suggestions for demystifying the concept.  Presents a framework for a 
psychology curriculum using performance-based assessment practices.  
  Descriptors: Classroom Techniques; Cognitive Processes; Cognitive 
Psychology; Competency Based Education; Course Descriptions; 
*Critical Thinking; *Curriculum Development; Developmental Psychology; 
Educational Strategies; Higher Education; Instruction; *Learning 
Strategies; Psychologists; Social Sciences; *Student Evaluation; 
*Teaching Methods; *Thinking Skills
  Identifiers: Alverno College WI; Performance Based Evaluation

  EJ507452  SO526600
  Using Writing to Develop and Assess Critical Thinking.
  Wade, Carole
  Teaching of Psychology, v22 n1 p24-28 Feb   1995
  Theme issue topic: "Psychologists Teach Critical Thinking."
  ISSN: 0098-6283
  Document Type: PROJECT DESCRIPTION (141);  TEACHING GUIDE (052);  
  Target Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
  Asserts that written work has advantages over oral discussion in 
the development and assessment of students' critical thinking skills.  
Describes a set of short writing assignments that focuses on eight 
essential aspects of critical and creative thought.  Provides 
examples of how to use writing assignments in college psychology 
courses.  (CFR)
  Descriptors: Classroom Techniques; Cognitive Processes; *Cognitive 
Psychology; Creative Thinking; *Critical Thinking; Curriculum 
Development; Developmental Psychology; Educational Strategies; Higher 
Education; Instruction; *Learning Strategies; Psychologists; Social 
Sciences; *Student Evaluation; *Teaching Methods; Thinking Skills; 
Writing Across the Curriculum; *Writing Assignments

  ED391185  CS509116
  Multiple Measures of Critical Thinking Skills and Predisposition in 
Assessment of Critical Thinking.
  Spicer, Karin-Leigh; Hanks, William E.
  Nov 1995
  11p.; Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech 
Communication Association (81st, San Antonio, TX, November 18-21, 
  Document Type: REVIEW LITERATURE (070);  POSITION PAPER (120);  
  A panel of 46 experts from philosophy and education defines 
critical thinking as "purposeful, self-regulatory judgment which 
results in interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and inference, as 
well as explanation of the evidential, conceptual, methodological, 
criteriological, or contextual considerations upon which that 
judgment is based." At present, there are seven standardized critical 
thinking tests available, and several performance assessment 
approaches can be used as outcome measures within various subjects in 
communication.  Standardized tests can provide useful information 
that is diagnostic and may help to guide instruction.  However, 
multiple measures of critical thinking should be used in assessment.  
Critical thinking is not a general ability but rather a complex set 
of general and specific factors.  Psychologists generally favor 
multiple measures of critical thinking because no single test covers 
the dimensions of a good conceptual definition of critical thinking.  
R. A. Ennis and S. P. Norris suggest that in lieu of appropriate 
multiple choice tests, open-ended assessment tests are needed; other 
measures could include interviews.  College educators should first 
decide what students should be able to demonstrate and what they know 
and can do.  Then, they should decide what to teach students.  When 
educators are clear about the intended performance and results, they 
will have a set of criteria for selection of content.  Then in 
devising their means of assessment, educators should consider 
guidelines concerning meaningful contexts in exams, novel situations, 
relevant products and performances, and the various levels of student 
ability.  (Contains 21 references.) (TB)
  Descriptors: *College Outcomes Assessment; Communication (Thought 
Transfer); *Critical Thinking; Higher Education; Logical Thinking; 
Problem Solving; Standardized Tests; *Student Evaluation; *Thinking 
Skills; Undergraduate Students
  Identifiers: Authentic Assessment; *Critical Thinking Skills 
Performance Assessment; *Multiple Measures Approach; Reflective 

  EJ497603  EC610314
  Productive Thinking: Toward Authentic Instruction and Assessment.
  Treffinger, Donald J.
  Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, v6 n1 p30-37 Fall 
  ISSN: 1047-1885
  This paper discusses a multicomponent approach to assessment of 
productive thinking with gifted students.  It presents a model of 
productive thinking encompassing creative and critical thinking, 
problem solving, and decision making.  Emphasis is on 
planning/profiling, instruction, evaluation, and documentation.  
Profiling, performance assessment, portfolios, and authentic 
instruction are seen as important assessment tools.  (DB)
  Descriptors: Creative Thinking; Critical Thinking; Decision Making; 
Elementary Secondary Education; *Evaluation Methods; *Gifted; Problem 
Solving; *Productive Thinking; *Student Evaluation; Thinking Skills
  Identifiers: *Performance Based Assessment

  EJ478876  CE526211
  Critical Thinking Skills Research: Developing Evaluation 
  Sormunen, Carolee; Chalupa, Marilyn
  Journal of Education for Business, v69 n3 p172-77 Jan-Feb 
  ISSN: 0883-2323
  Available From: UMI
  Document Type: REVIEW LITERATURE (070);  JOURNAL ARTICLE (080)
  Reviews methods for assessing critical thinking: multiaspect 
commercial tests, aspect-specific commercial tests, and teacher-
designed tests.  Suggests ways to modify commercial tests.  (SK)
  Descriptors: Business Administration Education; *Critical Thinking; 
*Evaluation Methods; Higher Education; Student Evaluation; *Teacher 
Made Tests; *Test Construction

  EJ473735  SP522754
  Critical Thinking Assessment.
  Ennis, Robert H.
  Theory into Practice, v32 n3 p179-86 Sum   1993
  ISSN: 0040-5841
  Document Type: POSITION PAPER (120);  TEACHING GUIDE (052);  
  Suggests that critical thinking assessment is difficult to do well, 
but it is possible.  Notes that difficulties and possibilities vary 
with the purpose of the assessment and the format used.  After 
examining published critical thinking tests, the paper explains how 
to create customized tests.  (SM)
  Descriptors: *Critical Thinking; Elementary Secondary Education; 
Higher Education; *Student Evaluation; *Teacher Made Tests; *Test 
Construction; *Test Reviews; Tests; *Thinking Skills

  ED367400  JC940154
  A Model for Assessing Critical Thinking Skills.
  Kiah, Carmon J.
  Nov 1993
  11p.; Paper presented at the Annual Student Assessment Conference 
of the Virginia Assessment Group and the State Council of Higher 
Education for Virginia (7th, Richmond, VA, November 11-12, 1993).
  In response to a statewide call for a review of general education 
in Virginia community colleges, the Student Assessment Committee 
(SAC) was formed at John Tyler Community College (Virginia) to 
evaluate student outcomes for the college's general education 
component.  After concluding that standardized tests did not provide 
an adequate measure, the SAC decided to focus on the evaluation of 
students' critical thinking skills as a measure of college success.  
A flow chart for interviewing students to determine their critical 
thinking capabilities was developed based on the following elements 
of critical thought: (1) identifying the problem; (2) stating the 
problem; (3) interpreting facts which must be known to solve the 
problem; (4) posing a possible answer; (5) developing an applicable 
solution from the answer; and (6) applying the solution to similar 
problems.  Interviews were conducted with 47 of 100 associate degree 
candidates for graduation in 1993 which identified students by 
program and noted differences in critical thinking levels.  The flow 
chart strengths include the tangible character of the model, which 
allows interviewers to physically see relationships of thought, while 
weaknesses include the possibility that the structure may be 
difficult to change if evidence suggests it is no longer appropriate.  
The SAC plans to further clarify the model and expand interviewing in 
the future.  Flow charts and SAC members are included.  (BCY)
  Descriptors: Associate Degrees; *College Outcomes Assessment; 
Community Colleges; *Critical Thinking; *Flow Charts; General 
Education; Institutional Evaluation; Interviews; *Measures 
(Individuals); *Models; *Student Evaluation; Thinking Skills; Two 
Year Colleges; Two Year College Students
  Identifiers: John Tyler Community College VA

  EJ476384  JC506582
  Assessing the Effectiveness of Critical-Thinking Instruction.
  Halpern, Diane F.
  Journal of General Education, v42 n4 p239-54   1993
  ISSN: 0021-3667
  Document Type: POSITION PAPER (120);  JOURNAL ARTICLE (080)
  Reviews research on the outcomes of college-level critical thinking 
classes, focusing on outcome variables, the design and selection of 
assessment instruments, ecologically valid indicators, multiple 
comparison groups, time of testing, classroom strategies, and 
educational measurement issues.  Describes seven types of outcomes 
evaluation, all of which supported the value of critical thinking 
instruction.  Includes 34 references.  (MAB)
  Descriptors: *College Students; *Critical Thinking; Educational 
Research; Higher Education; *Outcomes of Education; *Program 
Effectiveness; *Research Methodology

  EJ476208  IR527865
  Expanding the Evaluation Role in the Critical-Thinking Curriculum.
  Callison, Daniel
  School Library Media Annual (SLMA), v11 p78-92   1993
  ISSN: 0739-7712
  Document Type: POSITION PAPER (120);  PROJECT DESCRIPTION (141);  
  Discussion of the evolving role of the school library media 
specialist focuses on a model of the teaching role in the development 
of a critical thinking curriculum.  Topics addressed include literacy 
redefined; restructuring media programs; collection development and 
information access; staffing changes; and intervention and evaluation 
strategies.  (Contains 36 references.) (LRW)
  Descriptors: Access to Information; *Critical Thinking; *Curriculum 
Development; Educational Change; Elementary Secondary Education; 
Evaluation Methods; Information Literacy; *Learning Resources Centers; 
Library Collection Development; Library Personnel; *Library Role; 
*Media Specialists; Models; *School Libraries

  EJ456179  IR526003
  Assessing and Evaluating Student Gains.
  Poirot, James L.
  Computing Teacher, v20 n4 p30-32 Dec-Jan 199  1993
  ISSN: 0278-1923
  Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080);  POSITION PAPER (120)
  This article, the fourth in a series on work conducted at the Texas 
Center for Educational Technology and the University of Texas, 
discusses evaluative measures needed to assess the improvements that 
educational technology may have on students' problem solving, 
critical thinking, and content-level abilities.  An annotated list of 
standardized tests is included.  (EA)
  Descriptors: *Cognitive Development; Continuing Education; 
*Critical Thinking; *Educational Technology; Elementary Secondary 
Education; *Evaluation Needs; *Problem Solving; *Standardized Tests; 
Student Attitudes; Student Motivation

  EJ454853  JC506204
  The Fourth "R": Checklists for Assessing Thought in Action.
  Miles, Curtis
  Journal of Developmental Education, v16 n2 p32-33 Win 
  ISSN: 0894-3907
  Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080);  POSITION PAPER (120);  NON-
  Target Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
  Presents a checklist of core behaviors for use in assessing 
students' strengths, weaknesses, and changes in thinking skills.  
Lists persistence, decreased impulsivity, flexibility, metacognition, 
checking for accuracy, problem posing, drawing on past knowledge and 
experience, transfer of skills to new situations, precision of 
language, and enjoyment of problem solving.  (DMM)
  Descriptors: Check Lists; *Cognitive Development; College Students; 
*Critical Thinking; Higher Education; *Informal Assessment; *Problem 
Solving; *Thinking Skills

  ED353296  TM019311
  A Model for the National Assessment of Higher Order Thinking.
  Paul, Richard; Nosich, Gerald M.
  Available From: Foundation for Critical Thinking, 4655 Sonoma 
Mountain Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95404 ($3).
  EDRS Price - MF01 Plus Postage. PC Not Available from EDRS.
  Document Type: EVALUATIVE REPORT (142)
  This document provides a model for the national assessment of 
higher order thinking and consists of a preface and four main 
sections.  The preface discusses the problem of lower order learning, 
summarizes the state of research into critical thinking and 
instructional reform, and explains the structure of the paper.  
Section 1 of the paper describes 21 criteria for higher order 
thinking assessment.  Section 2 makes the case for how "a rich 
substantive concept of critical thinking" meets these 21 criteria, 
and highlights the dangers of a non-substantive concept of critical 
thinking.  Section 3 outlines four domains of critical thinking 
(elements of thought, abilities or basic modes of reasoning, 
affective dimensions, and universal intellectual standards).  Section 
4 makes substantive recommendations regarding how to assess the 
various domains of critical thinking, the test strategies that may be 
used (including multiple rating items and essay items), the value of 
the proposed strategy for educational reform, and the suggested 
implementation of the proposed assessment.  An assessment of the 
results of critical thinking instruction should focus on thinking 
within the framework of particular academic subjects and thinking in 
interdisciplinary contexts that are important for functioning as an 
autonomous well-informed productive member of a democracy.  Seven 
figures are included.  (RLC)
  Descriptors: *Academic Standards; *Cognitive Measurement; *Critical 
Thinking; Educational Assessment; Educational Change; Elementary 
Secondary Education; *Evaluation Criteria; Intelligence; Models; 
National Competency Tests; National Programs; Problem Solving; 
*Student Evaluation; Testing Programs; *Thinking Skills
  Identifiers: *Elements of Reasoning; Reform Efforts

  ED353295  TM019307
  Using Intellectual Standards To Assess Student Reasoning.
  Paul, Richard; Nosich, Gerald M.
  Available From: Foundation for Critical Thinking, 4655 Sonoma 
Mountain Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95404 (free).
  EDRS Price - MF01 Plus Postage. PC Not Available from EDRS.
  Document Type: EVALUATIVE REPORT (142)
  Target Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
  This document provides specific examples of what is involved in 
applying intellectual criteria and standards to students' reasoning, 
focusing on elements of reasoning (EORs).  The significance of 
reasoning having elements and the need for standards in assessing 
reasoning are described.  The following are the EORs: (1) purpose, 
goal, or end in view (all reasoning has a purpose); (2) question at 
issue or problem to be solved (all reasoning is an attempt to figure 
something out, settle some question, or solve some problem); (3) 
point of view or frame of reference (all reasoning is done from some 
viewpoint); (4) the empirical dimension of reasoning (all reasoning 
is based on data, information, and/or evidence); (5) the conceptual 
dimension of reasoning (all reasoning is expressed through and shaped 
by concepts and ideas); (6) assumptions (all reasoning is based on 
assumptions); (7) implications and consequences (all reasoning leads 
somewhere and has implications and consequences); and (8) inferences 
(all reasoning contains inferences by which conclusions are drawn and 
meaning is given to data).  The interface between EORs and standards 
is considered.  Eight three-columned charts, one for each of the 
EORs, briefly characterize differences between how good and bad 
reasoners handle components of their reasoning.  The charts provide 
samples of feedback that teachers might give to students about each 
component of students' performance as reasoners.  (RLC)
  Descriptors: *Academic Standards; Charts; *Cognitive Measurement; 
Critical Thinking; Educational Assessment; Elementary Secondary 
Education; *Evaluation Criteria; *Intelligence; Problem Solving; 
*Student Evaluation; Teacher Role; *Thinking Skills
  Identifiers: *Elements of Reasoning

  EJ443440  JC505990
  Assessing Critical Thinking.
  Cromwell, Lucy S.
  New Directions for Community Colleges, v20 n1 p37-50 Spr 
  ISSN: 0194-3081
  Target Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
  Offers guidelines for the assessment of critical thinking ability, 
suggesting that assessment be integral to learning, involve a range 
of behaviors, emphasize expected course, program, or institutional 
outcomes, incorporate structured feedback and an external dimension, 
and be cumulative.  Lists steps in developing an assessment plan.  
  Descriptors: College Curriculum; *College Outcomes Assessment; 
Community Colleges; Course Content; *Critical Thinking; *Evaluation 
Methods; Program Evaluation; Two Year Colleges
  Identifiers: *Alverno College WI

  ED340642  SO021681
  Classroom Thoughtfulness and Students' Higher Order Thinking: 
Common Indicators and Diverse Social Studies Courses. Final 
  Newmann, Fred M.
  11 Feb 1991
  Document Type: RESEARCH REPORT (143)
  This project developed a conceptualization of higher order 
thinking, dimensions of classroom thoughtfulness, and an assessment 
exercise applicable to diverse topics taught in more than 70 classes 
in 11 high schools.  Generic qualities of classroom thoughtfulness 
were not generally associated with the persuasiveness of student 
writing on a constitutional issue.  The impact of classroom 
thoughtfulness on higher order thinking in subjects that teachers 
actually taught was not assessed.  The study illustrates issues in 
devising observation schemes and assessment tasks that at once honor 
diverse forms of domain-specific competence in social studies, but 
that also yield common indicators of teaching quality and student 
performance.  A 38-item list of references is included as are a 
number of tables of statistical data.  (Author)
  Descriptors: Classroom Observation Techniques; Critical Thinking; 
Educational Assessment; Educational Research; High Schools; Learning 
Processes; *Persuasive Discourse; *Social Studies; Statistical 
Analysis; Student Behavior; Student Educational Objectives; *Student 
Evaluation; Teacher Effectiveness; *Thinking Skills; Writing 

  EJ438704  CE523348
  Thinking Skills Instruction: What Do We Really Want?
  Frisby, Craig L.
  Educational Forum, v56 n1 p21-35 Fall   1991
  ISSN: 0013-1725
  Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080);  POSITION PAPER (120)
  Misconceptions about thinking skills instruction are that it will 
make students "smarter," raise achievement levels, and create better 
citizens.  Reasonable expectations are that thinking skills 
instruction should be measured by short-term goals, a changed 
classroom atmosphere, concrete behavioral criteria, and the 
improvement of specific task performance.  (SK)
  Descriptors: *Academic Achievement; *Citizenship Education; 
Classroom Environment; Cognitive Development; *Critical Thinking; 
Evaluation Criteria; *Intelligence; Outcomes of Education; *Thinking 

  ED340766  TM018022
  Assessing Higher Order Thinking and Communication Skills: Literacy.
  Venezky, Richard L.
  30 Sep 1991
  44p.; Commissioned paper prepared for a workshop on Assessing 
Higher Order Thinking & Communication Skills in College Graduates 
(Washington, DC, November 17-19, 1991), in support of National 
Education Goal V, Objective 5. For other workshop papers, see TM 018 
  Assessment of higher order literacy skills encounters three initial 
problems aside from assessment methods: (1) definition of literacy; 
(2) range of skills to assess; and (3) whether or not higher order 
literacy can be assessed independently of a particular content area.  
Regardless of definitions, the general performance areas to be 
covered must be decided.  Issues to be resolved are the question of 
how many lower-level literacy skills to include in a higher-level 
assessment and the degree to which a pure literacy assessment can be 
separated from any particular content.  The cognitive base for 
assessment of adult literacy is thin, and that dealing with higher-
level skills is almost non-existent.  In the future, text-based tasks 
might be developed from analyses of basic reading comprehension 
processes.  These tasks might be aligned with the Delphi 
classification of core critical thinking skills.  To be compatible 
with the basic directions of critical thinking and communications 
research, it is suggested that literacy assessment be built around a 
definition of human expertise, confined primarily to reading and 
writing, and integrated with content-area assessments, at least for 
areas where text-based information must be integrated with 
information previously acquired.  Three figures illustrate the 
discussion, and a 52-item list of references is included.  Reviews by 
R. Calfee, M. A. Miller, and M. Scriven of this position paper are 
provided.  (SLD)
  Descriptors: Adults; Cognitive Measurement; Communication Skills; 
*Critical Thinking; *Educational Assessment; *Evaluation Methods; 
Evaluation Problems; Higher Education; *Literacy; Reading 
Comprehension; *Thinking Skills; Writing Evaluation
  Identifiers: *Higher Order Learning; *National Education Goals 1990

  ED337498  TM017349
  Using the California Critical Thinking Skills Test in Research, 
Evaluation, and Assessment.
  Facione, Peter A.
  Available From: California Academic Press, 217 La Cruz Avenue, 
Millbrae, CA 94030 ($7.50).
  Document Type: EVALUATIVE REPORT (142)
  The California Critical Thinking Skills Test: College Level (CCTST) 
is a standardized test that targets core college-level critical 
thinking skills.  It has been characterized as the best commercially 
available critical thinking skills assessment instrument.  Building 
from CCTST validation studies in 1989 and 1990, this paper proposes 
avenues for further study and suggests ways that the CCTST might be 
used.  After briefly summarizing the conceptual basis of the CCTST, 
the paper examines questions from the validation studies, which 
suggest needed inquiry into the differential impact of typical 
college-level critical thinking (CT) instruction.  Preliminary 
findings indicate differences among students by academic major and by 
degree of CT self-esteem.  Other findings suggest the need for 
research into factors that predict student CT ability and 
characteristics of effective instructors.  The use of the CCTST in 
pretest-posttest studies is considered, given that there is only one 
form of the CCTST.  Strategies for development of local CCTST 
posttest norms and placement scores are recommended.  Possible uses 
of the CCTST in personnel screening and psychological research are 
outlined.  Five tables present data from previous related studies.  
  Descriptors: *Cognitive Tests; College Students; *Critical Thinking; 
*Educational Assessment; Educational Research; Higher Education; 
Personnel Selection; Predictive Measurement; Pretests Posttests; 
Psychological Testing; *Research Needs; Standardized Tests; Student 
Evaluation; *Test Use; Test Validity; *Thinking Skills
  Identifiers: *California Critical Thinking Skills Test (College)

  EJ452893  EC604260
  Assessing Critical Thinking in Mathematics.
  Enright, Brian E.; Beattie, Susan A.
  Diagnostique, v17 n2 p137-44 Win   1992
  ISSN: 0737-2477
  Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080);  TEACHING GUIDE (052)
  Target Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
  A five-step hierarchy for problem solving in mathematical word 
problems, called SOLVE, involves Study the problem, Organize data, 
Line up a plan, Verify plan, and Evaluate the match.  Implementing 
the SOLVE strategies enables teachers to assess and teach skills 
needed by students with mild disabilities and improves students' 
success rates.  (Author/JDD)
  Descriptors: *Critical Thinking; Elementary Secondary Education; 
Evaluation Methods; Learning Strategies; *Mathematics Instruction; 
*Mild Disabilities; *Problem Solving; Student Evaluation; *Word 
Problems (Mathematics)

  ED308221  TM013578
  A Critical Thinking Bibliography with Emphasis on Assessment.
  Facione, Peter A.
  20 May 1989
  Available From: California Academic Press, 331 Susquehanna Ave., 
Placentia, CA, 92670 ($4.50).
  Document Type: BIBLIOGRAPHY (131);  RESEARCH REPORT (143)
  In January 1988 the Committee on Pre-College Philosophy of the 
American Philosophical Association undertook a survey of the state of 
the art of critical thinking (CT) assessment.  Using Delphi research 
methodology, a panel of 60 scholars and teachers from throughout the 
United States and Canada, with backgrounds in Philosophy, Psychology, 
Education, and other disciplines and a strong interest in CT 
assessment, examined the conceptualization of CT and analyzed its 
skills and dispositional dimensions.  The panel also produced the 150-
item bibliography of research materials, testing instruments, and 
position papers on CT and its assessment contained in this document.  
This bibliography is presented independently of the findings of the 
Delphi project because of its potential usefulness for persons 
interested in CT assessment.  (SLD)
  Descriptors: Cognitive Processes; *Cognitive Tests; *Critical 
Thinking; *Educational Assessment; Elementary Secondary Education; 
Higher Education; *Position Papers; Problem Solving; Publications; 
Reference Materials; *Research Reports; Resource Materials

  ED306225  TM012917
  Assessing Inference Skills.
  Facione, Peter A.
  20 Feb 1989
  Document Type: EVALUATIVE REPORT (142)
  Four major problem areas inhibit the standardized assessment of 
critical thinking (CT): (1) content validity; (2) construct validity; 
(3) technical jargon; and (4) background knowledge.  Practical 
examples of framing multiple-choice items for assessment are 
suggested.  In the area of content validity, new agreement about the 
definition of CT now allows it to be seen as a combination of 
personality traits, cognitive affects, and cognitive skills.  
Construct validity is a more troublesome problem because it presumes 
that one can write questions focusing on the process of thinking as 
distinct from other factors.  Avoiding jargon is a necessity in 
framing multiple-choice questions.  The background knowledge problem 
can only be addressed by trying to write CT items that presume only 
the most universal social and human experiences.  Specific multiple-
choice items that might resolve these difficulties also serve as 
paradigm frames for targeting three core CT abilities--analyzing, 
drawing, and evaluating inferences.  Every aspect of CT may not be 
amenable to multiple-choice testing, but the question of whether or 
not multiple-choice assessment tools framed as suggested above might 
be suitable is an empirical question that can be addressed by 
research.  A 64-item list of references is provided.  (SLD)
  Descriptors: *Cognitive Measurement; Construct Validity; Content 
Validity; *Critical Thinking; Elementary Secondary Education; 
Evaluation Methods; *Inferences; Knowledge Level; *Multiple Choice 
Tests; *Standardized Tests; Test Construction; *Testing Problems; 
Test Validity
  Identifiers: Jargon; Technical Language

  ED299322  TM012357
  Measurement of Thinking Skills--An Historical Perspective. Iowa 
Testing Programs Occasional Papers. Number 34.
  Coffman, William E.
  Jun 1988
  21p.; Paper presented at a Meeting to discuss future directions for 
the California Assessment Program (Berkeley, CA, July 16-18, 1987).
  A historical review of educational literature concerning 
measurement of cognitive skills is provided, with reference to test 
construction.  Focus is on assessing abilities beyond recall of 
information.  In light of interest in assessing critical thinking in 
the California Assessment Program, it must be noted that concern with 
critical thinking is not a new development.  As early as 1937, C. H. 
Judd anticipated the need for the kinds of cognitive studies that 
currently are of interest.  California has been in the forefront of 
upa, Marilyn
  Journal of Education for Business, v69 n3 p172-77 Jan-Feb 
  ISSN: 0883-2323
  Available From: UMI
  Document Type: REVIEW LITERATURE (070);  JOURNAL ARTICLE (080)
  Reviews methods for assessing critical thinking: multiaspect 
commercial tests, aspect-specific commercial tests, and teacher-
designed tests.  Suggests ways to modify commercial tests.  (SK)
  Descriptors: Business Administration Education; *Critical Thinking; 
*Evaluation Methods; Higher Education; Student Evaluation; *Teacher 
Made Tests; *Test Construction

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