Critical Thinking Skills Survey

The purpose of assessment in instruction is improvement. The purpose of assessing instruction for critical thinking is improving the teaching of discipline based thinking (historical, biological, sociological, mathematical thinking…). It is to improve students’ abilities to think their way through content, using disciplined skill in reasoning. The more particular we can be about what we want students to learn about critical thinking, the better can we devise instruction with that particular end in view.

For deeper understanding of the relationship between critical thinking assessment and instruction, read the white paper on consequential validity by Richard Paul and Linda Elder:

The Foundation for Critical Thinking offers assessment instruments which share in the same general goal: to enable educators to gather evidence relevant to determining the extent to which instruction is teaching students to think critically (in the process of learning content).

To this end, the fellows of the Foundation recommend:

  1. that academic institutions and units establish an oversight committee for critical thinking
     
  2. that this oversight committee utilize a combination of assessment instruments (the more the better) to generate incentives for faculty (by providing the faculty with as much evidence as feasible of the actual state of instruction for critical thinking).

The following instruments are available to generate evidence relevant to critical thinking teaching and learning:

  1. Course Evaluation Form: provides evidence of whether, and to what extent, students perceive faculty as fostering critical thinking in instruction (course by course). Machine scoreable.
  2. Critical Thinking Subtest: Analytic Reasoning: provides evidence of whether, and to what extent, students are able to reason analytically. Machine scoreable (currently being developed).
  3. Critical Thinking: Concepts and Understandings: provides evidence of whether, and to what extent, students understand the fundamental concepts embedded in critical thinking (and hence tests student readiness to think critically). Machine scoreable
  4. Fair-mindedness Test: provides evidence of whether, and to what extent, students can reason effectively between conflicting view points (and hence tests student ability to identify strong and weak arguments for conflicting positions in reasoning). Machine scoreable. (currently being developed).
  5.  Critical Thinking Reading and Writing Test: Provides evidence of whether, and to what extent, students can read closely and write substantively (and hence tests student ability to read and write critically). Short Answer.
  6. International Critical Thinking Test: provides evidence of whether, and to what extent, students are able to analyze and assess excerpts from textbooks or professional writing. Short Answer.
  7. Commission Study Protocol for Interviewing Faculty Regarding Critical Thinking: provides evidence of whether, and to what extent, critical thinking is being taught at a college or university (Can be adapted for High School). Based on the California Commission Study. Short Answer.
  8. Foundation for Critical Thinking Protocol for Interviewing Faculty Regarding Critical Thinking: provides evidence of whether, and to what extent, critical thinking is being taught at a college or university (Can be adapted for High School). Short Answer
  9. Foundation for Critical Thinking Protocol for Interviewing Students Regarding Critical Thinking: provides evidence of whether, and to what extent, students are learning to think critically at a college or university (Can be adapted for High School). Short Answer. 
  10. Criteria for critical thinking assignments.  Can be used by faculty in designing classroom assignments or by administrators in assessing the extent to which faculty are fostering critical thinking.
  11. Rubrics for assessing student reasoning abilities. A useful tool in assessing the extent to which students are reasoning well through course content.  

All of the above assessment instruments can be used as part of pre- and post- assessment strategies to gauge development over various time periods.

{"id":"400","title":"","author":"","content":"<!--- \r\n<table width=\"200\" height=\"299\" cellspacing=\"1\" cellpadding=\"3\" border=\"0\" bgcolor=\"navy\" align=\"right\" summary=\"\">\r\n<tbody>\r\n<tr bgcolor=\"white\">\r\n<td valign=\"top\" style=\"background-image: url(http://www.criticalthinking.org/image/pimage/Testing-pencil1.jpg); background-repeat: no-repeat;\" _mce_style=\"background-image: url(http://www.criticalthinking.org/image/pimage/Testing-pencil1.jpg); background-repeat: no-repeat;\">\r\n<div align=\"center\"><font color=\"#ffffff\"><b>National Academy on </b></font><font ><br /> </font> <font color=\"#ffffff\"><b>Critical Thinking</b></font><br /> <font color=\"#000066\"><b>Testing and Assessment</b></font></div>\r\n<br /> <br />\r\n<div align=\"center\"><font ><b>How Can We Best Test and Assess Critical Thinking?</b></font><br /> <br /> <br /> <font ><b>A Three-Day Academy<br /> <font color=\"#808080\"><font color=\"#993300\"> September 11-13, 2007<br /> **this event has ended**</font><br /> </font></b></font><font color=\"#0000ff\"><b> <br /> <a href=\"http://www.criticalthinking.org/conference/Testing-Assessment.cfm\" _mce_href=\"http://www.criticalthinking.org/conference/Testing-Assessment.cfm\" style=\"; font-weight: bold;\" _mce_style=\"font-weight: bold;\"><b>Click to Read More...</b></a><br /> <a href=\"http://www.criticalthinking.org/store-page.cfm?PageID=630&CategoryID=1&P=conference&itemID=266\" _mce_href=\"http://www.criticalthinking.org/store-page.cfm?PageID=630&amp;CategoryID=1&amp;P=conference&amp;itemID=266\" style=\"; font-weight: bold;\" _mce_style=\"font-weight: bold;\"><b><br /> </b></a> </b></font></div>\r\n</td>\r\n</tr>\r\n</tbody>\r\n</table>\r\n--->\r\n<p><span><a href=\"http://www.criticalthinking.org/assessment/machine_test.cfm\"><img src=\"http://www.criticalthinking.org/image/pimage/CT_Test_onlineAd.jpg\" alt=\"Critical ThinkingBasic Understandings Online Test\" hspace=\"5\" align=\"right\" /></a></span><span>The purpose of assessment in instruction is improvement. The purpose of assessing instruction for critical thinking is improving the teaching of discipline based thinking (historical, biological, sociological, mathematical thinking&hellip;). It is to improve students&rsquo; abilities to think their way through content, using disciplined skill in reasoning. The more particular we can be about what we want students to learn about critical thinking, the better can we devise instruction with that particular end in view.</span></p>\r\n<p><span>For deeper understanding of the relationship between critical thinking assessment and instruction, read the white paper on consequential validity by Richard Paul and Linda Elder:</span></p>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><a href=\"http://www.criticalthinking.org/files/White%20PaperAssessmentSept2007.pdf\" target=\"_blank\"><strong><span>Consequential Validity: Using Assessment to Drive Instruction</span></strong></a></li>\r\n</ul>\r\n<p><span>The Foundation for Critical Thinking offers assessment instruments which share in the same general goal: to enable educators to gather evidence relevant to determining the extent to which instruction is teaching students to think critically (in the process of learning content). </span><br /> <span><br /> To this end, the fellows of the Foundation recommend:</span></p>\r\n<ol>\r\n<li><span>that academic institutions and units establish an oversight committee for critical thinking<br /> &nbsp;</span></li>\r\n<li><span>that this oversight committee utilize a combination of assessment instruments (the more the better) to generate incentives for faculty (by providing the faculty with as much evidence as feasible of the actual state of instruction for critical thinking).<br /> <br /> </span></li>\r\n</ol>\r\n<p><span><span style=\"color: #000099;\"><strong>The following instruments are available to generate evidence relevant to critical thinking teaching and learning:</strong></span></span></p>\r\n<ol type=\"1\">\r\n<li><a href=\"http://www.criticalthinking.org/files/Course_Evaluation_Form.doc\"><strong>Course Evaluation Form:</strong></a> provides evidence of whether, and to what extent, students perceive faculty as fostering critical thinking in instruction (course by course).&nbsp;Machine scoreable.</li>\r\n<li><strong>Critical Thinking Subtest: Analytic Reasoning:</strong> provides evidence of whether, and to what extent, students are able to reason analytically. Machine scoreable (currently being developed).</li>\r\n<li><a href=\"http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/online-critical-thinking-basic-concepts-test/679\"><strong>Critical Thinking: Concepts and Understandings:</strong></a> provides evidence of whether, and to what extent, students understand the fundamental concepts embedded in critical thinking (and hence tests student readiness to think critically).&nbsp;Machine scoreable</li>\r\n<li><strong>Fair-mindedness Test:</strong>&nbsp;provides evidence of whether, and to what extent, students can reason effectively between conflicting view points (and hence tests student ability to identify strong and weak arguments for conflicting positions in reasoning).&nbsp;Machine scoreable. (currently being developed).</li>\r\n<li>&nbsp;<a style=\"font-weight: bold;\" href=\"http://www.criticalthinking.org/store/products/the-international-critical-thinking-reading-and-writing-test/257\">Critical Thinking Reading and Writing Test:</a> Provides evidence of whether, and to what extent, students can read closely and write substantively (and hence tests student ability to read and write critically).&nbsp;Short Answer.</li>\r\n<li><a style=\"font-weight: bold;\" href=\"http://www.criticalthinking.org/assessment/ICAT-info.cfm\">International Critical Thinking Test:</a> provides evidence of whether, and to what extent, students are able to analyze and assess excerpts from textbooks or professional writing.&nbsp;Short Answer.</li>\r\n<li><strong><a href=\"http://www.criticalthinking.org/files/Commission%20Study%20Appendix.PDF\">Commission Study Protocol for Interviewing Faculty Regarding Critical Thinking</a>: </strong>provides evidence of whether, and to what extent, critical thinking is being taught at a college or university (Can be adapted for High School).&nbsp;Based on the <a href=\"http://www.criticalthinking.org/store/products/california-teacher-preparation-for-instruction-in-critical-thinking/147\">California Commission Study</a>.&nbsp;Short Answer.</li>\r\n<li><strong>Foundation for Critical Thinking <a style=\"font-weight: bold;\" href=\"http://www.criticalthinking.org/resources/PDF/Interview%20Questions%20for%20Teachers.pdf\">Protocol for Interviewing Faculty Regarding Critical Thinking</a>: </strong>provides evidence of whether, and to what extent, critical thinking is being taught at a college or university (Can be adapted for High School).&nbsp;Short Answer</li>\r\n<li><strong>Foundation for Critical Thinking <a style=\"font-weight: bold;\" href=\"http://www.criticalthinking.org/resources/PDF/Interview%20Questions%20for%20Students.pdf\">Protocol for Interviewing Students Regarding Critical Thinking</a>:</strong> provides evidence of whether, and to what extent, students are learning to think critically at a college or university (Can be adapted for High School).&nbsp;Short Answer.&nbsp;</li>\r\n<li><strong><a href=\"http://www.criticalthinking.org/files/Criteria%20for%20CT%20Assignments.doc\">Criteria for critical thinking assignments.</a></strong>&nbsp; Can be used by faculty in designing classroom assignments or by administrators in assessing the extent to which faculty are fostering critical thinking.<a href=\"http://www.criticalthinking.org/files/Critical%20Thinking%20Grid.doc\"><br /> </a></li>\r\n<li><strong><a href=\"http://www.criticalthinking.org/files/Critical%20Thinking%20Grid.doc\">Rubrics for assessing student reasoning abilities</a>.</strong> A useful tool in assessing the extent to which students are reasoning well through course content. &nbsp; <span style=\"font-family: Arial;\"><span style=\"font-family: Arial;\"><br /> </span></span></li>\r\n</ol>\r\n<p>All of the above assessment instruments can be used as part of pre- and post- assessment strategies to gauge development over various time periods.</p>\r\n<p><br style=\"clear: both;\" /></p>","public_access":"1","public_downloads":"1","sku":"","files":[{"id":754,"filename":"data/pages/25/5d47996f9e66870c2e26307fc3feeb0a57d84a8f55f34.pdf","realfilename":"data/pages/25/5d47996f9e66870c2e26307fc3feeb0a57d84a8f55f34.pdf","title":"White Paper Assessment","order":0},{"id":755,"filename":"data/pages/0/f1932cf866b37b955d26368a3c8a22dc57d84a8f56ed3.doc","realfilename":"data/pages/0/f1932cf866b37b955d26368a3c8a22dc57d84a8f56ed3.doc","title":"Course_Evaluation_Form","order":1},{"id":756,"filename":"data/pages/18/418336441cd992e6f8c65c4ded7dbe2f57d84a8f579bc.doc","realfilename":"data/pages/18/418336441cd992e6f8c65c4ded7dbe2f57d84a8f579bc.doc","title":"Criteria for CT Assignments","order":2},{"id":757,"filename":"data/pages/75/70bf72d07d92201e3bb641a29070b28257d84a8f5849b.doc","realfilename":"data/pages/75/70bf72d07d92201e3bb641a29070b28257d84a8f5849b.doc","title":"Critical Thinking Grid","order":3},{"id":758,"filename":"data/pages/89/70c24f2faf54b6994d9f963f3b97cb6057d84a8f58ebe.pdf","realfilename":"data/pages/89/70c24f2faf54b6994d9f963f3b97cb6057d84a8f58ebe.pdf","title":"Interview Questions for Teachers","order":4}],"images":[]}

Consequential Validity


All of the above assessment instruments, when used appropriately and graded accurately, should lead to a high degree of consequential validity. In other words, the use of the instruments should cause teachers to teach in such a way as to foster critical thinking in their various subjects. In other words, for students to perform well on the various instruments, teachers will need to design instruction so that students can perform well on them. Students cannot become skilled in critical thinking without learning (first) the concepts and principles that underlie critical thinking and (second) applying them in a variety of forms of thinking: historical thinking, sociological thinking, biological thinking, etc. Students cannot become skilled in analyzing and assessing reasoning without practice in it. However, when they have routine practice in paraphrasing, summariz­ing, analyzing, and assessing, they will develop skills of mind requisite to the art of thinking well within any subject or discipline, not to mention thinking well within the various domains of human life.

{"id":401,"title":"Consequential Validity","author":"","content":"&lt;p&gt;&lt;br /&gt; All of the above assessment instruments, when used appropriately and graded accurately, should lead to a high degree of consequential validity. In other words, the use of the instruments should cause teachers to teach in such a way as to foster critical thinking in their various subjects. In other words, for students to perform well on the various instruments, teachers will need to design instruction so that students can perform well on them. Students cannot become skilled in critical thinking without learning (first) the concepts and principles that underlie critical thinking and (second) applying them in a variety of forms of thinking: historical thinking, sociological thinking, biological thinking, etc. Students cannot become skilled in analyzing and assessing reasoning without practice in it. However, when they have routine practice in paraphrasing, summariz&amp;shy;ing, analyzing, and assessing, they will develop skills of mind requisite to the art of thinking well within any subject or discipline, not to mention thinking well within the various domains of human life.&lt;br style=\"clear: both;\" /&gt;&lt;/p&gt;","public_access":"1","public_downloads":"1","sku":"","files":{},"images":{}}



 

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Harmer’s (1998)

How to Teach English 

has asection on speaking methodology designedto help beginning students initiate conversa-tion, and subsequently create written work,through the design of simple questionnaires.His example deals with the topic of sleep andincorporates present-perfect questions, suchas “Have you ever talked in your sleep?” and“Have you ever had a nightmare?” as a way to elicit comments from classmates abouttheir sleeping habits (90). The questionnaireresponses are reported on a form designedby the students. Other topics Harmer (1998)suggests to generate conversational interac-tions include student preferences in TV view-ing and music. A textbook by Soars and Soars (1998) alsouses class surveys to practice particular gram-mar points. The upper-intermediate level of the series has students design a questionnairethat investigates the shopping habits of classmembers. At this somewhat advanced lan-guage stage, questions are more open-endedand detailed than those suggested by Harmer(1998). Students report their findings by using expressions of quantity (e.g., “all of us,”“hardly anybody”).The examples above demonstrate that ques-tionnaire writing is a well-established techniquefor facilitating different forms of communica-tion in the classroom. However, it is also impor-tant to consider how teachers can enhancethe benefits associated with this project-basedactivity. Alan and Stoller (2005, 11) stress that,to best facilitate learning of language, content,and real-life skills, projects “require a combi-nation of teacher guidance, teacher feedback,student engagement, and elaborated tasks withsome degree of challenge.”

Benefits of a task-based questionnaireproject

• Integration of the four macro skills

 As indicated above, a major advantage of using a questionnaire project in the classroomlies in its use of the four macro skills as partof an integrated curriculum. While an equalamount of time might not be spent on eachskill, by the end of the activity all four skills will have been utilized as the teacher and stu-dents transform a classroom assignment intoa real-world communicative activity.

• Questionnaires as teaching and learningtools

In addition to integrating the four macroskills, project work has additional benefits that justify its use as a teaching and learning tool. Working on questionnaires that are basedon a relevant local context brings a motivat-ing dimension of reality to the classroomenvironment. Rather than relying on generictextbook activities, which learners might findcontrived, such a project encourages studentsto put their heads together and work actively to accomplish a meaningful goal.

Improvement of critical thinking

 A questionnaire project presents an oppor-tunity to combine focused language use withthe development of critical thinking. Accord-ing to Facione (1998), critical thinkers may have both necessary affective dispositions,such as honesty, open-mindedness, and flex-ibility, and a set of cognitive skills, com-prised of “interpretation, analysis, evaluation,inference, explanation, and self-regulation”(4). While a questionnaire project has thepotential to increase all of these cognitivestrengths, in our case

interpretation 

and

self- regulation 

were the skills most utilized by thestudents, and so they are discussed in moredetail below.1.

Interpretation skill.

Facione (1998)defines interpretation as comprehend-ing and expressing the meaning of avariety of input, such as experience,data, beliefs, and rules. Two sub-skillshe proposes for successful interpretationare (a)

categorizing information 

, whichis especially relevant in the context of survey interpretation, since groupingsimilar ideas together is essential forformatting a questionnaire that willgenerate useful data, and (b)

clarifying meaning 

, which also has a role to play in that it is vital for researchers tobe able to analyze their questions forbiased or leading language.2.

Self-regulation skill 

(sometimes referredto as

metacognition 

). Self-regulationtakes on a more global significance inthe critical thinking process. Facione(1998, 7) defines it as the ability tomonitor and evaluate one’s own work and conclusions, adding that the

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