Internal group discussions allowed students to argue individual viewpoints as they worked toward group agreement on each thought question. Education leaders are similarly calling for institutions of higher education to produce graduates who think critically, communicate effectively, and who employ lifelong learning skills to address important scientific and civic issues Association of American Colleges and Universities, [AACU] The current study addresses some of the gaps in previous work by evaluating the effects of writing on critical thinking performance using relatively large numbers of students, suitable comparison groups, valid and reliable instruments, a sizable cadre of covariables, and statistical analyses of covariance. Specifically, average scores from a representative sample of writing course sections approximately students were used to compare initial essay drafts across the weeks of the term to discover when students began to show changes in their first attempt at each essay. Assessment of Critical Thinking Using critical thinking to indicate student learning performance is particularly useful because it can be measured within and across disciplines. Recommendations for Urgent Action.

What measurable effect do factors like gender, ethnicity, and prior thinking skill have on changes in critical thinking in general education biology? An online version of the CCTST was administered in this study, which allowed the researchers to collect student demographics data including gender, ethnicity, age, and several others at the same time critical thinking skill was measured. These threats were minimized because writing was mandatory for all treatment group participants, thereby minimizing volunteer effects. Essay scores were derived using a thesis-based critical thinking rubric see Supplemental Appendix 2. Performance on weekly thought questions was analyzed to discover specifically when and how much student critical thinking skills changed during the academic term. Using critical thinking to indicate student learning performance is particularly useful because it can be measured within and across disciplines.

Teaching Critical Thinking

Course elements that were highly similar included common lecture rooms, the use of similar in most cases identical textbooks, and a lab facility coordinated by a single faculty member. Revitalizing instruction in scientific genres: Teachers implementing writing-to-learn strategies in junior secondary science: Although critical thinking gains were criitcal by writing, they did not appear to be affected by gender, ethnicity, class standing, or age. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer.


Specifically, significant gains in analysis and inference skills were observed in the writing group but not the nonwriting group.

Kurfiss, Joanne Gainen

Education and Learning Kkurfiss Think. Writing instructors were chosen on the basis of personal dissatisfaction with traditional laboratory teaching methods and willingness to try something new. Regression threats were also minimized to the extent that students with higher initial scores regressed much less than students with kurifss initial scores. Mean, SE, and effect size were also compared between the writing and nonwriting groups.

Change in CCTST total raw scores and national percentile ranking was used as composite measures of critical thinking Facione, c in this initial analysis.

Strtegies of student writing associated with each developmental pattern are presented along with illustrative examples. SinceAmerican education has tried—with some success—to make a fundamental shift from traditional teacher-focused instruction to more student-centered constructivist learning that encourages discovery, reflection, and in general is thought to improve student critical thinking skill.

kurfiss strategies to encourage critical thinking

Ideally, students would learn the foundational tenets of critical thinking at an earlier age, and be able to refine and hone these skills as they progress through the K—20 education system. Factors like gender, ethnicity, and academic ability that are not directly associated with writing but may nonetheless influence its effectiveness have also not been sufficiently accounted for in previous work Rivard, How do you help students learn how to think like an expert in the field?

This was done to help students become more proficient writers within a short period of time. Coincidentally, student content knowledge did not differ significantly between the treatment and control sections, indicating that development of thinking skill did not occur at the expense of content knowledge Ebert-May et al.

Specifically, Rivard and others indicate that, despite the volume of writing students are asked to produce during their education, they are not learning to use writing to improve their awareness of thinking processes Resnick, ; Howard, Critical thinking performance on student essays was evaluated by applying a thesis-based essay rubric see Supplemental Appendix 2 on initial submissions and final revised essays. Further analysis of the writing group showed that the largest gains in critical thinking occurred during the first few weeks of the term, with graduated improvement during the remainder of the term.


Kurfiss, Joanne Gainen [WorldCat Identities]

Effect of writing on total critical thinking national percentile rank. Tested covariables included gender, ethnicity, class standing, age, prior critical thinking skill CCTST pretestacademic term, time of day, and instructor. As it appears that particular instructors improve student critical thinking skills more than others, students should be discerning in their choice of instructors if they want to improve their critical thinking skills.

Currently there is much national discussion about increasing the numbers of students majoring in various science fields National Research Council, ; National Academy of Sciences, Finally, the weekly difference between each initial essay and each final essay was compared to determine how much the revision process changed during the term. Critical thinking performance for the writing group was 15 times greater for analysis and 8 times greater for inference skills than for the nonwriting group.

Does writing in laboratory affect critical thinking performance in general education biology?

kurfiss strategies to encourage critical thinking

Evaluated essays were e-mailed back to each student group, which addressed comments and suggestions during the subsequent week’s laboratory writing time. Open in a separate window. Initial planning meetings took place just before the beginning of the academic quarter and included graduate assistant training to help them learn to consistently evaluate student writing using a modified thesis-based essay rubric see Supplemental Appendix 2 ; Beers criticql al.

Specifically, analysis and inference skills increased significantly in the writing group wncourage not the nonwriting group. Knowledge cannot simply be recalled and applied; expert learners have well-organized knowledge, not just problem-solving strategies. Experimental Validation and Content Validity.

Teaching Critical Thinking | Graduate Connections | Nebraska

Test of everyday reasoning. Concurrent nonwriting course sections were also used as comparison groups.

Instead of individually developing course materials, writing faculty collaborated htinking a greater extent than nonwriting faculty on course design and assessments that required students to demonstrate their critical thinking skill.