Writing and Critical Thinking Writing has been widely used as a tool for communicating ideas, but less is known about how writing can improve the thinking process itself Rivard, ; Klein, Comparison of total critical thinking national percentile gains between writing and nonwriting groups. All graduate assistants and course instructors applied the thesis-based rubric to sample essays and worked toward consensus. 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. By helping general education students to develop critical thinking skills, it is hoped that they will be better able to think rationally about science.

CCTST raw score range was 0—34; n values in parentheses. A Human Constructivist View. Directorate for Education and Human Resources; Prior research indicates that the writing to learn strategy is effective because students must conceptually organize and structure their thoughts as well as their awareness of thinking processes Langer and Applebee, ; Ackerman, ; Holliday, ; Rivard, The study took place at a state-funded regional comprehensive university in the Pacific Northwest.

Teaching Critical Thinking

What the Best College Teachers Do. These future studies would further contribute to the knowledge base in this area, and also address some of its identified limitations Ebert-May et al. 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.

kurfiss strategies to encourage critical thinking

Despite the collective call for enhanced problem solving and critical thinking, educators, researchers, and policymakers are discovering a lack of evidence in existing literature for methods that measurably improve critical thinking skills Tsui, Finally, the instructor covariable was used to account for performance differences due to individual wncourage styles. A similar study showed critical thinking skills improve over 15 wk Quitadamo, Brahler, and Crouch, unpublished results ; however, this study provided no insight into whether critical thinking skills could be changed over a shorter period of time, in a different academic setting, or in response to instructional variables such as writing.


The generalizability of study results is limited because all data were collected at a single university. When do student critical thinking skills begin to change, and how much? Written product as performance measures; pp.

Kurfiss, Joanne Gainen [WorldCat Identities]

A range of sample essays from poor to high quality was used to calibrate graduate assistant scoring and ensure consistency between assistants from different laboratory sections within the writing group. Bradley Kincaid, Monitoring Editor. The same nonmajors biology textbook was used across the writing and most of the nonwriting sections.

kurfiss strategies to encourage critical thinking

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, Directorate for Education and Human Resources; The effect of prior component critical thinking skill was approximately 4.

Specifically, Rivard and others indicate that, despite the volume of writing students are asked to produce during their kurfis, they are not learning to use writing to improve their awareness ro thinking processes Resnick, ; Howard, Preparing the 21st century workforce: Kurfiss, author of Critical Thinking: Student Thought Question Performance Critical thinking performance on student essays was evaluated by applying a thesis-based essay rubric see Supplemental Thijking 2 on initial submissions and final revised essays.

Initial essay drafts were composed in Microsoft Word and submitted to the graduate assistant by the end of the laboratory period using the campus e-mail system. Nyquist ; “Topics in Question: Collectively, it appears that additional research is necessary to establish a more defined relationship between writing and critical thinking in science Rivard, ; Tsui,; Daempfle, Although academics and business professionals consider critical thinking skill to be a crucial outcome of higher education, many would have difficulty defining exactly what critical thinking is.

Students were allowed to use any suitable information or materials laboratory observations, laboratory manuals, lecture notes, textbooks, the Internet, etc. Although they are not always transparent to many college students, the academic and personal benefits of critical thinking are well established; students who can think critically tend to get better grades, are often better able to use reasoning in daily decisions U.


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Teaching Critical Thinking | Graduate Connections | Nebraska

Results indicated that students from the writing group significantly outperformed their nonwriting peers in both total critical thinking skill and the component critical thinking skills of analysis and inference. Historically, there has been little agreement on strattegies to conceptualize critical thinking. National science organizations have supported this trend with recommendations to improve the advanced thinking skills that support scientific literacy American Association for Higher Education, ; National Research Council, ; National Science Foundation, Group work can be helpful, since students have the opportunity to work through a problem together and discuss difficulties.

These critical thinking raw scores encouraeg to gains in national critixal rank of 7. Various instruments are available to assess critical thinking Watson and Glaser, ; Ennis and Weir, ; Facione, b ; Center for Critical Thinking and Moral Critique, ; however, only the CCTST measures cfitical and meta-cognitive skills associated with critical thinking, is based on a consensus definition of critical thinking, and has been evaluated for validity and reliability for measuring critical thinking at the college level Facione, a ; Facione et al.

Writing instructors were chosen on the basis of personal dissatisfaction with traditional laboratory teaching methods and willingness to try something new. Interviews of faculty from the writing and nonwriting groups indicated that writing faculty felt the course was less work because they collaborated with colleagues and because students demonstrated improved thinking skill.

kurfiss strategies to encourage critical thinking

During the same time frame, data from the ACT Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency test showed a similar trend, with undergraduates improving their critical thinking less than 1 SD from freshman to senior year.