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Facione, P. (1990). Critical Thinking: A statement of expert consensus for purposes of educational assessment and instruction. The California Academic Press. Retrieved from http://assessment.aas.duke.edu/docum...phi_Report.pdf 

A panel of 46 professionals with experience and expertise in critical thinking participated in this Delphi panel to work towards a consensus regarding what critical thinking is and provide recommendations for infusing critical thinking into education. They found that good critical thinking is divided into two dimensions, skills and dispositions. When examining cognitive critical thinking skills they identified six skills that make up the core of critical thinking, each of which can be meaningfully evaluated. These were: interpretation (clarify meaning), analysis (examine arguments), evaluation (assign value to claims),  inference (draw conclusions), explanation (present arguments) and self-regulation (examine biases). The article then goes on to provide detailed examples of ways students demonstrate their abilities in each skill set. The Delphi report is cited many times in the current critical thinking literature so this information will be beneficial background, especially as I work to develop assessments and pedagogies which may influence student abilities in each of these areas.  Additionally the report recommends that teaching critical thinking is most effective when the instructor is explicit and models dispositions and skills during the instruction. (Facione, 1990) 

 

Friedel, C., Irani, T., Rudd, R., Gallo, M., Eckhardt, E., & Ricketts, J. (2008). Overtly teaching critical thinking and inquiry-based learning: A comparison of two undergraduate biotechnology classes. Journal of Agricultural Education, 49(1), 72–84. Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/EJ839873.pdf 

The overall purpose of this study was to determine if overtly teaching critical thinking skills had an effect on students’ critical thinking abilities or dispositions as opposed to solely relying on inquiry-based learning to implicitly teach critical thinking. The study used ANCOVA analysis to conclude that overtly teaching critical thinking led to significantly higher levels of critical thinking skills as measured by the U of Florida Critical thinking Test for Plant Science and showed a modest (but not statistically significant relationship between skills and dispositions as measured by the U of Florida Engagement, Maturity, and Innovativeness test.  However, the study relied on a nonequivalent control group as they used two different courses for their experimental (explicitly teaching critical thinking skills) and their control (inquiry based learning) classes. While both courses were 2000 level courses their composition was quite different with one having an average GPA of 3.8 and over 50% honors students and significantly higher critical thinking pre-test scores than the other having an average GPA of 3.2 and less than 10% honors students. While this comparison might not be as highly reliable it may be something to consider for my teaching situation where often we only have one section of many upper level courses. Additionally the authors used two assessment measures specifically designed at the University of Florida for a biotechnology course, which might be interesting for me to consider as assessment tools as opposed to the more commonly used CCTDI.(Friedel et al., 2008) 

 

Hart, P. D. (2008). How should colleges assess and improve student learning? Employers’ views on the accountability challenge. The Association of American Colleges and Universities. Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED499718.pdf 

Hart Research Associates Inc. interviewed 301 employers regarding their thoughts on the skills and abilities of recent graduates of 4 year programs along with the methods of assessing those skills used by undergraduate institutions. Employers list critical thinking among the top five areas of learning that are in most need of improvement, with 31% indicating students were not well prepared. Also on the list were global knowledge, self-direction, writing, and adaptability. Additionally when examining what assessments ensure student success in the workforce most employers had the highest confidence in assessments that demonstrate graduates’ ability to apply their learning to real-world challenges and projects that integrated problem solving, writing, and analytical reasoning skills, all of which include students’ critical thinking abilities. The lack of these skills influences the ability of graduates to gain or keep employment, indicating the importance of and motivation behind developing critical thinking pedagogies in the classroom. Additionally the importance to employers of assessments that include assessing critical thinking further demonstrate the importance of those assessments in the classroom.(Hart, 2008) 

 

 

Leist, C. W., Woolwine, M. A., & Bays, C. L. (2012). The Effects of Using a Critical Thinking Scoring Rubric to Assess Undergraduate Students’ Reading Skills. Journal of College Reading and Learning, 43(1), 31–58. 

The overall purpose of this study was to examine the use of a summative critical thinking rubric to improve and assess reading comprehension and abilities. While the assessed topic, reading, is not related to my study, the concept of repeated rubric use is. The authors found no statistical difference in student scores from the pretest to the first rubric assignment, but found increased statistical improvement through repeated rubric use and significantly higher posttest scores. It is not possible for the authors to conclude that it was only the use of the critical thinking framework rubric that improved reading achievement however because there was no control group in this study. Obtaining useful, interesting, statistical data without a control group is important for my study as I may not have enough students or sections to have a control group in my methodology. Additionally I plan to apply a critical thinking rubric to the assessment of laboratory reports written throughout the semester so this article provides methodology background for such repeated rubric use.(Leist, Woolwine, & Bays, 2012) 

 

 

Quitadamo, I. J., & Kurtz, M. J. (2007). Learning to improve: using writing to increase critical thinking performance in general education biology. CBE life sciences education, 6(2), 140–54. doi:10.1187/cbe.06-11-0203 

 This study is an excellent article both in the background information and additional references it provides and also in its similarity to what I hope to accomplish with my project. The background information discusses the 2005 AACU report indicating that while 93% of faculty indicate critical thinking is an essential learning outcome only 6% of seniors demonstrate proficiency,  based on ETS assessments. It also discusses prior research suggesting writing in the discipline influences deeper analytical thinking but stresses more work is needed to clarify relationships between critical thinking and writing in the sciences.  The authors used a pre/post CCTST to examine the effect of collaborative group writing as the lab evaluation method on critical thinking. They used ANCOVA to compare overall differences between writing and non-writing groups (different sections of the course) and found an approximate 9 times greater improvement in critical thinking scores in the writing group. Additionally they used MANCOVA to examine particular critical thinking skills components individually and found statistically significant changes in analysis, inference, and evaluation skills. This study differs from my proposed work in that it focused on nonmajor general education biology and the writing is a different style, however I believe this work is an excellent framework to model my current proposal on as we both have the same overall purpose, to examine the role of writing in improving students’ critical thinking.(Quitadamo & Kurtz, 2007) 

  

 

 

 

 

 

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