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Context & Problem

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Research question

Does the tool "Scales of Evidence and Belief" increase higher-level reasoning skills and metacognition?



  • Non-bio majors, ~ 20 students
  • Second of 2 required “core” courses at U of Chicago
  • Students have a menu of courses to choose from
  • Class has strong reasoning component:
    • Explicit (intended to increase metacognition and transfer of reasoning skills to new problems)
    • Infusion method within “Evolution and intelligent design” course

 Why is this interesting?

  • Recent studies show the importance of education not just for content, but also for thinking
  • The tool "Scales of Evidence and Belief" aims at improving several areas of reasoning, some of which are well-represented in scientific thinking:
    • Evidence in support of or against a claim comes in degrees
    • The relationship between evidence and belief; ethical issues in belief formation
    • Issues regarding possibility
    • Issues regarding disconfirming evidence
    • Issues regarding withholding belief
  • If successful, this tool can be used in other college classes, and also at the school level and in adult education
Tag page

Files 4

FileSizeDateAttached by 
Critical thinking test from Cornell
171.97 kB17:02, 17 Jul 2009mseguratottenActions
No description
221.77 kB17:02, 17 Jul 2009mseguratottenActions
This is a teaching portfolio, but the author is trying to design his own CT test, so it may be helpful
181.56 kB17:02, 17 Jul 2009mseguratottenActions
Here's the one about CT and arguments
1675.03 kB17:05, 17 Jul 2009mseguratottenActions
Viewing 7 of 7 comments: view all
Cool idea! Remember to match the goals of your study to your assessments. Write your assessments and rubrics with the skills you want to assess in mind. I'm also grappling with assessing critical thinking skills, and it's complex, so I know what you're up against. Let's keep in touch about this. I will also post on your wiki some CT tests I've found that may serve as assessments. Miriam
Posted 16:59, 17 Jul 2009
Am very curious about the term "belief." Can you say how you are defining belief?

Often that word is used to describe things which cannot be either supported or not supported by evidence, as opposed to scientific thinking for which one gains data facts which either support or do not support a hypothesis. edited 17:01, 17 Jul 2009
Posted 16:59, 17 Jul 2009
As you presented, the link between "scientific thinking" and what you are doing is not clear to me. It might be helpful to read all the comments you get carefully and think about your research question.
Posted 17:00, 17 Jul 2009
Very interesting tool, the Scales of Evidence and Belief. Has this tool been used by both novices and experts for comparison?
Posted 17:01, 17 Jul 2009
Nice triangulation analysis of development of scientific thinking skills
I would focus on the use of the scales of evidence tool - does this tool have rubric or a scale that you can collect from the students during or after their learning experiences? A measure that they can report to you as a result of each learning activity over the length of the course.
Posted 17:04, 17 Jul 2009
How are you defining critical thinking skills? What assessment tool(s) will assess that? This seems like a very important part of the study. You might want to "Bloom" your questions as evidence that they are at high levels.
Posted 17:04, 17 Jul 2009
talk with Jenny Knight about non-majors and their beliefs about science and how they compare to majors.

It would be great if you could develop a critical thinking skills test.
Posted 17:04, 17 Jul 2009
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