Critical Thinking Statistics

Critical Thinking Statistics-19
Being a good critical thinker is a desirable trait for getting a job in today’s economy. What business or enterprise does not want a good critical thinker?

Being a good critical thinker is a desirable trait for getting a job in today’s economy. What business or enterprise does not want a good critical thinker?Actually, none of this is really new – although the pace might have quickened of late.

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Others include the Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal and the Cornell Critical Thinking Tests. I suspect because universities would be justifiably worried about what the results might indicate.

In the margin — and tangentially — some (pessimistic) academics have countered that universities promote precisely the opposite of critical thinking; a culture of uncritical left-wing orthodoxy, an orthodoxy that takes the form of cultural attitude or milieu within the sector and which largely goes unchallenged.

Over the years theorists have tried to nail down a definition of critical thinking.

These include: “…reflective and reasonable thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or do.” “…the ability to analyse facts, generate and organise ideas, defend opinions, make comparisons, draw inferences, evaluate arguments and solve problems.” “…an awareness of a set of interrelated critical questions, plus the ability and willingness to ask and answer them at appropriate times.” “…thinking about your thinking while you’re thinking to make your thinking better.” Whatever definition one plumps for, the next question that arises is what are universities doing about teaching it?

Martin Davies does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

There has been a spate of articles and reports recently about the increasing importance of critical thinking skills for future employment.To counter these trends, a group of politically diverse scholars have set up a Heterodox Academy.They agitate for the importance of teaching students how – not what – to think.There is some justification in the claim that universities do not teach critical thinking, despite their oft-cited claims that they do.In the US media recently, there was a heightened concern about the teaching of critical thinking in universities.And there is no shortage of studies demonstrating that “very few college courses actually improve these skills”. The important thing is that it does need to be taught, and we need to ensure graduates emerge from university being good at it.One thing is certain: beyond vague pronouncements and including “critical thinking” among nebulous lists of unmet or hoped-for graduate attributes, universities should be paying more attention to critical thinking and doing a lot more to cultivate it.“Critical thinking” — or its synonyms “analytical thinking”, “critical inquiry” etc — will be there.(Some examples: here, here and here.) Universities like to think that students exit their institutions thinking much more critically compared to when they went in. Has any university pre-tested for critical thinking skills at admission, and post-tested upon completion of degree to assess gains? There are well-validated tests of critical thinking that could be used for such a purpose, the California Critical Thinking Assessment Test being the most used.It is hard to define things like critical thinking: the concept is far too abstract.Some have claimed that critical thinking is not a skill as much as an attitude, a “critical spirit” — whatever that might mean (of course it could be both).


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