These calculations collectively helped to provide a profile of critical thinking performance over time. Two different instructors taught five writing sections and five other instructors taught 11 traditional sections over three consecutive quarters. Tested covariables included gender, ethnicity, class standing, age, prior critical thinking skill CCTST pre-test , academic term, time of day, and instructor. Also probes informal logic, cognitive processes, and developmental foundations. One also has to consider that the critical thinking gains seen in the writing group might also have resulted from the relative absence of traditional lab instruction rather than writing alone. Instead of individually developing course materials, writing faculty collaborated to a greater extent than nonwriting faculty on course design and assessments that required students to demonstrate their critical thinking skill.

Finally, the instructor covariable was used to account for performance differences due to individual teaching styles. The generalizability of results was further limited because of an overreliance on student self-reports and small sample size. 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, Supporting validity and reliability data for the NABT test was not included in the study, making interpretation of results somewhat less certain. Using the science writing heuristic as a tool for learning from laboratory investigations in secondary science. Project Page Feedback Known Problems.

The MANCOVA test of analysis, inference, and evaluation skills indicated that gender, ethnicity, age, class standing, academic term, and time of day did not significantly affect critical thinking performance.

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Teaching Critical Thinking | Graduate Connections | Nebraska

Each course section included a lecture component offered four times per week for 50 min and a laboratory component that met once a week for 2 h. 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, Contains an author and title index.

Pretest scores indicating prior critical thinking skill were also used to further establish comparability between the writing and nonwriting groups. Graduate assistants evaluated each group’s essay typically six per lab section and assigned an initial grade based on the thesis-based essay rubric.


The professor does not tell students how to solve the problem, but asks questions that help the students approach and solve the problem on their own. Writing effect on total critical thinking performance: Although additional studies are necessary to confirm results from the Giancarlo study, existing research seems to indicate that changes in undergraduate critical thinking disposition are measured in years, not weeks.

The Essential Skills Employers Want. Although all course sections used traditional lecture exams during the quarter to assess content knowledge, the degree to which rote memorization-based exam questions were used to evaluate student learning varied.

kurfiss strategies to encourage critical thinking

American Society for Training Development. Weekly thought questions became progressively more difficult as the term progressed.

In fact, statistical results indicated that these variables collectively had a very small effect on critical thinking performance. Analysis of covariance and multivariate analysis of ro tests were used to compare critical thinking performance between the writing and nonwriting groups.

Kurfiss, Joanne Gainen [WorldCat Identities]

Each student group submitted a final draft that was re-evaluated and assigned a final grade. When used on the first day of class or early in the semester, students have an experiential foundation they can use the rest of the semester. The current study addresses some of the gaps in previous work by evaluating the effects of writing on critical criticwl performance using relatively large numbers of students, suitable comparison groups, valid and reliable instruments, a sizable cadre of covariables, and statistical analyses of covariance.

Tested covariables included gender, ethnicity, class standing, age, kuffiss critical thinking skill CCTST pretestacademic term, time of day, and instructor.

Writing faculty collaboratively crafted a consensus essay, or thought question, designed to elicit student critical thinking and ability to apply content knowledge. Assessment of Critical Thinking Using critical thinking to indicate student learning performance is particularly useful because it can be measured within and across disciplines.

kurfiss strategies to encourage critical thinking

Multivariate srategies of covariance for the writing and nonwriting groups. Of the relatively few noninstructional variables identified in those studies, gender and major did not affect critical thinking performance; however, the amount of time spent on and the explicitness of instruction to teach reasoning skills did affect overall critical thinking performance. This design is widely used in educational research, and generally controls for most threats to internal validity Campbell and Stanley, Factors kurffiss 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, In this study, the effect of writing on critical thinking performance was investigated using the California Critical Thinking Skills Test CCTST at the beginning pretest and end posttest of 10 sections of general education biology at a regional comprehensive university in the Pacific Northwest.


kurfiss strategies to encourage critical thinking

Finally, the weekly difference between each crritical essay and each final essay was compared to determine how much the revision process changed during the term. From a practical perspective, implementing writing did not take more time and effort per se; rather, it required faculty to reconceptualize how they spent their instructional time.

Teaching Critical Thinking

Applebee suggested that writing improves thinking because it requires an individual to make his or her ideas explicit and to evaluate and choose among tools necessary for effective discourse. Do majors courses do any better? Student Thought Question Performance 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. Research on instructional strategies for teaching science.

By improving their critical thinking skills in science, general education students will be better able to deal with the broad scientific, economic, social, and political issues they will face in the future. A more recent review by Daempfle similarly indicates the need for additional research to clarify relationships between writing and critical thinking in science.