"Critical Thinking: Facilitating and Assessing the 21st Century Skills in Education" (post) outlines the following:
- 10 reasons to promote student critical in the classroom
- 10 ways to facilitate such thinking
- 10 "I can" statements to clarify specific aspects of the critical-thinking process for students.
- 7 seven resources to help with assessment and facilitation of critical thinking
1. Ten Benefits of Encouraging Critical Thinking in the Classroom
- "Allows for necessary inquiry that makes learning exciting."
- "Provides a method to go beyond memorization to promote understanding."
- "Allows students to visualize thoughts, concepts, theories, models & possibilities."
- "Promotes curriculum standards, trans-disciplinary ideas, & real-world connections." (See "Authentic Learning" and "Authentic Assessment Toolbox.")
- "Encourages a classroom culture of collaboration that promotes deeper thinking."
- "Builds skills of problem-solving, making implications, & determining consequences."
- "Facilitates goal setting, promotion of process, and perseverance to achieve."
- "Encourages point of view while developing persuasive skills."
- "Guides interpretation while developing a skill to infer and draw conclusions."
2. Ten Ways to Facilitate Student Critical Thinking
a. "Design Critical-Thinking Activities."
- "This might include mind mapping, making thinking visible, Socratic discussions, meta-cognitive mind stretches."
- "Build an inquiry wall with students and talk about the process of thinking.”
b. "Provide time for students to collaborate."
- "Collaboration can ... star[t] critical thinking ... [as] [i]t provides group thinking that builds on the standards."
- "Have students work together while solving multi-step and higher-order thinking problems."
- "Sometimes this might mean slow down to increase the learning."
c. "Provide students with a critical thinking rubric."
- "Have them look at the rubric before a critical thinking activity, and once again when they are finished."
- Some critical-thinking focused rubrics:
- "Guide to Rating Critical & Integrative Thinking" (pdf)
- "Holistic Critical Thinking Rubric"
- "Student Thinking Continuum Rubric (for students)"
- "Student Thinking Continuum (for instructors)"
- "Analytic Discussion Forum Grading Rubric for Undergraduate Students"
- "Analytic Discussion Forum Grading Rubric for Graduate Students"
- "Journal Reflection Rubric"
- "Grading Rubric for Reflection Journal Entries" (pdf)
- VALID Sample Rubrics (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education)
- "Inquiry and Analysis VALUE Rubric"
- "Critical Thinking VALUE Rubric"
- "Creative Thinking VALUE Rubric"
- "Written Communication VALUE Rubric"
- "Oral Communication VALUE Rubric"
- "Reading VALUE Rubric"
- "Quantitative Literacy VALUE Rubric"
- "Information Literacy VALUE Rubrics"
- "Teamwork VALUE Rubric"
- "Problem Solving VALUE Rubric"
- "Civic Engagement VALUE Rubric"
- "Intercultural Knowledge and Competence VALUE Rubric"
- "Ethical Reasoning VALUE Rubric"
- "Lifelong Learning VALUE Rubric"
- "Foundations and Skills for Lifelong Learning VALUE Rubric"
- "Global Learning VALUE Rubric" (doc)
- "Integrative Learning VALUE Rubric"
d. "Make assessment of critical thinking an ongoing effort."
- "While [instructors] can assess, have students assess themselves."
- "Self-assessment can be powerful": provide necessary rubrics, allow for reflections with or without prompts or templates [or activities or assignments or rubrics] etc.
- Peer assessment is also an option.
e. "Concentrate on specific indicators in a rubric."
- Focus on specifics such as "provides inquiry, answers questions, builds an argument, etc."
- "Concentrate on just one indicator while doing a lesson."
- "There can even be an exit ticket reflection" to assess the success of the session.
f. "Integrate the idea of critical thinking in any lesson."
- "Do not teach this skill in isolation."
- Connect critical thinking "with a lesson, stem activity, project built, etc."
- Ask "What does critical thinking look like in the online or blended environment? Think of online discussions."
g. "Post a critical thinking poster in the room [or on your D2L site]."
- This "could be a copy of a rubric or even a list of 'I Can Statements' [see 3 below]" or Bloom's Taxonomy with related verbs to help students understand the kind of intellectual action required at each level of thinking.
- "Point it out before a critical-thinking activity."
h. "Make critical thinking part of your formative and summative assessment."
- "Move around the room, talk to groups and students, stop the whole group to make adjustments."
i. "Point out critical thinking found in the content standards."
- "Be aware that content standards often have words like infer, debate, conclude, solve, prioritize, compare and contrast, hypothesize, and research."
- "Show your students Bloom’s Taxonomy and post in [it] the room [or on D2L]." to challenge students to higher-level thought.
j. "Plan for a school-wide [or department-wide] emphasis."
- "A culture that builds critical thinking is usually bigger than one classroom."
- "Develop school-wide [or department-wide] vocabulary, posters, and initiatives."
3. Ten "I Can" Statements for Critical Thinking
- "I can not only answer questions but can also think of new questions to ask."
- "I can take time to see what I am thinking to promote even better understanding."
- "I can attempt to see other peoples’ thinking while explaining my own."
- "I can look at a problem and determine [the] needed steps to find a solution."
- "I can use proper collaboration skills to work with others productively to build solutions."
- "I can set a goal, design a plan, and persevere to accomplish the goal."
- "I can map out strategies and processes that show the action involved in a task."
- "I can define and show my understanding of a concept, model, theory, or process."
- "I can take time to reflect and productively critique my work and the work of others."
- "I can understand, observe, draw inferences, hypothesize and see implications."
4. Seven Resources
- Habits of Mind – many great and free resources
- PBLWorks – "The number one place for PBL [project-based learning] in the world is at PBLWorks" -- and free.
- Microsoft Innovative Learning – "Critical thinking rubrics you can use tomorrow for any grade level": scroll down to the Grades 9-12 rubric and adapt as necessary to your course.
- New Tech School – "[P]rovides ... [a] collection of rubrics that assesses student learning in multiple areas": related to critical thinking:
- Rubric for History/Social Science Argumentation/Explanation (pdf)
- Rubric for ELA Argumentation/Explanation (pdf)
- Rubric for ELA Textual Analysis (pdf)
- Rubric for Scientific Research (pdf)
- Rubric for Science Argumentation/Explanation (pdf)
- Rubric for Math Problem Solving (pdf)
- Agency Rubric (pdf)
- Collaboration Rubrics (Individual) (pdf)
- Collaboration Rubric (Team) (pdf)
- Oral Communication Rubric (pdf)
- Written Communication Rubric (pdf)
- Foundation for Critical Thinking – Extensive critical-thinking resources for university faculty and students, notably the Elements of Thought interactive and special focus sections for the following:
- Project Zero – "[P]owerful routines for making thinking visible."
- "As you conduct these types of activities you will find yourself doing some wonderful formative assessment of critical thinking."
- Education Week – "[S]ome great reasoning and some interesting links that provide a glimpse of critical thinking in the classroom."