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. Specifically, writing within disciplines is thought to require deeper analytical thinking Langer and Applebee, , which is closely aligned with critical thinking. The class then discusses the results, the problems that came up during testing or analysis, and ethical issues. To rectify that inequity critical thinking skills should be explicitly taught early and used often during the K—20 academic process. In their longitudinal study of behavioral disposition toward critical thinking, Giancarlo and Facione discovered that undergraduate critical thinking disposition changed significantly after two years.

Currently there is much national discussion about increasing the numbers of students majoring in various science fields National Research Council, ; National Academy of Sciences, These results indicate that the process of writing helps students develop improved analytical and inference skills. How do you help students learn how to think like an expert in the field? Finally, the instructor covariable was used to account for performance differences due to individual teaching styles. Biology students first reflected on initial editorial comments made by English students, and then resubmitted their work for an improved grade. Each thought question was designed so that students had to apply lecture concepts and build on their conceptual understanding by integrating actual laboratory experiences see Supplemental Appendix 1 , available online for thought question examples. Results indicated that students in the treatment group significantly outperformed control group students on reasoning and process skills as indicated by the National Association of Biology Teachers NABT content exam.

General education biology students were divided into writing and nonwriting groups independent variable. Future studies that analyze student essays in more detail would provide greater insight into how writing influences critical thinking skill.

More specifically, as students begin to shape their thoughts at the point of construction and continually analyze, review, and clarify meaning through the processes of drafting and revision, they necessarily engage and apply analysis and inference skills Klein, ; Hand and Prain, Straetgies also seems likely that writing students experienced a greater cognitive demand than nonwriting students simply because the writing act required them to hypothesize, debate, and persuade Rivard, ; Hand and Prain, rather than memorize as was the case in nonwriting control courses.


Conversely, the lack of any significant change in kugfiss, inference, or evaluation skills in the nonwriting group indicated that the traditional lab instruction used in the general education biology control courses did not help students develop critical thinking skills. Encoufage variable that had the largest impact on critical thinking performance gains was prior critical thinking skill.

Teaching Critical Thinking

Ideally, students would learn the foundational tenets of critical thinking at an encouraage age, and be able to refine and hone these skills encourgae they progress through the K—20 education system. Strong efforts were made to establish equivalency between writing and nonwriting course sections a priori. Based on the results of this study, it could be argued that traditional lab instruction actually prevents the development of critical thinking skills, which presents a rather large problem when one considers how frequently these traditional methods are used in general education biology courses.

kurfiss strategies to encourage critical thinking

Includes theory, research, and practice from key programs. 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.

The CCTST measures cognitive skills of analysis, inference, evaluation, induction, and deduction, with results expressed as raw scores or national percentile equivalents based on a national norming sample of students from 4-yr colleges and universities.

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

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. What factors influence student prior critical thinking skill? A logical basis for measuring critical thinking skills.

Kurfiss, Joanne Gainen [WorldCat Identities]

Although the authors delineate the usefulness of several composition strategies for writing in biology Taylor and Sobota,it was unclear whether student data were used to support their recommendations. So knowledge in a field must be well understood and integrated into a mental scheme if the learner is to apply the knowledge to problem-solving.

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 et al. Journal entries are another way to encourage students to develop their own thoughts about literature. Results from these studies would also increase the generalizability of the results from this study. A matter of style: Perhaps more importantly, the NABT exam does not explicitly measure critical thinking skills.


Specifically, analysis and inference skills increased significantly in the writing group but not the nonwriting group.

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.

At the end of the quarter, each writing group member completed a peer evaluation for all group members, including themselves see Supplemental Appendix 3.

Each student group submitted a final draft that was re-evaluated and assigned a final grade.

Teaching Critical Thinking | Graduate Connections | Nebraska

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.

These results confirmed that both analyses of covariance met the homogeneity of slopes assumption. Change in CCTST total raw scores and national percentile ranking was used as composite measures of critical thinking Facione, c in this initial analysis. Specifically, writing students significantly improved their analysis and inference skills whereas nonwriting students did not.

Kurfiss, Joanne Gainen

Experimental Validation and Content Validity. Either way, changes to the traditional model of lab instruction will be necessary if the goal is to enhance the critical thinking abilities of general education biology students.

Theory, research, teaching practice, and college programs pertinent to the development and role of critical thinking are presented in order to show how educators have shaped educational settings to nurture the capacity and disposition to think critically.

kurfiss strategies to encourage critical thinking

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.