National percentile rank equivalents for CCTST component raw scores indicated the writing group gained A logical basis for measuring critical thinking skills. Since , American education has tried—with some success—to make a fundamental shift from traditional teacher-focused instruction to more student-centered constructivist learning that encourages discovery, reflection, and in general is thought to improve student critical thinking skill. Baseline critical thinking performance was established in the academic quarters preceding the writing experiment to more specifically attribute changes in critical thinking to the writing treatment. How does writing specifically produce gains in critical thinking performance? Although the Ebert-May study is one of the more complete investigations of writing and critical thinking to date, several questions remain.

Concurrent nonwriting course sections were also used as comparison groups. Students need a bigger structure, a sort of scaffolding, within which they can organize smaller items of knowledge and establish the relationship between what they know and the new information they acquire. This presents a large problem when one considers the societal role that general education students will play as voters, community members, and global citizens. Nyquist ; “Topics in Question: The same nonmajors biology textbook was used across the writing and most of the nonwriting sections. Initial training ended when all graduate assistants scored within 0. 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.

Specifically, Rivard and others indicate that, despite the volume of writing students are asked to produce during their education, they are not ctitical to use writing to improve their awareness of thinking processes Resnick, ; Howard, Statistical regression toward the mean, which was observed to some extent in this study, was minimized because this study used a valid and reliable instrument to assess critical thinking Facione, a.

The covariance analysis that was conducted provided a partial means to separate out the effects of writing, prior critical thinking skill, instructor, and multiple covariables thinnking total and component critical thinking gains.

Kurfiss, Joanne Gainen [WorldCat Identities]

Characteristics of student writing associated with each developmental pattern are presented along with illustrative examples. This preliminary study provided some evidence that undergraduate critical thinking kurfsis could be measurably improved within an academic semester, but provided no information about whether critical thinking skills could be changed during a shorter academic quarter.


Ease them into the process thiking asking them to describe a character using a metaphor. A Human Constructivist View. Nonwriting sections allocated 2 h for the prescriptive lab exercises and included a traditional laboratory quiz rather than a stratehies assignment. Supporting validity and reliability data for the NABT test was not included in the study, making interpretation of results somewhat less certain. What level of critical thinking skill do students bring to nonmajors biology courses?

Baseline critical thinking performance was established in the academic quarters preceding the writing experiment to more specifically attribute changes in critical thinking to the writing treatment.

kurfiss strategies to encourage critical thinking

These results confirmed that fncourage analyses of covariance met the homogeneity of slopes assumption. When used on the first day of class or early in the semester, students have an experiential foundation they can use the rest of the semester. More specifically, three similarly appointed lecture rooms outfitted with contemporary instructional technology including dry erase boards, media cabinets, a networked computer, and digital projection were used to teach the nonmajors biology courses.

Teaching Critical Thinking | Graduate Connections | Nebraska

Comparison of writing and nonwriting group performance based on critical thinking component skill raw scores CCTST subscales.

This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. While this teaching method might seem time criticak, students gain a deeper understanding of the work they are doing than if they simply copied examples the instructor put on the board.

How might writing in general education biology affect the analysis, inference, and evaluation skills that are inherent to critical thinking? Facing the 21st century. Initial results from the Delphi report xtrategies later confirmed in a national survey and replication study Jones et al.

kurfiss strategies to encourage critical thinking

However, no formal measures of student editorial skill were collected before biology-English student collaboration, so no definitive conclusions on the usefulness of this strategy could be made. As students learn the scientific method, they build the foundation of research skills for future work: What measurable effect do factors like gender, ethnicity, and prior thinking skill have on changes in critical thinking in general education biology?


Analysis of covariance and multivariate analysis of covariance tests were used to compare critical thinking performance between the writing and nonwriting groups.

kurfiss strategies to encourage critical thinking

Primary course differences included a writing component in the laboratory, and how much time was devoted to laboratory activities. Effect of writing on component critical thinking performance.

Kurfiss, Joanne Gainen

Those sections that experienced the writing treatment thinkin the prescriptive lab exercises in the first hour and engaged in writing during the second hour of the lab. Experimental and Quasi-experimental Designs for Research. The analysis of component skills provided greater insight into the particular critical thinking skills that students changed in response to writing.

The influence of writing on critical thinking is less defined in science. As more reports call for improved K—20 student performance, it is essential that research-supported teaching and learning practices be used to encouraeg help students develop the cognitive skills that underlie effective science learning Malcom et al.

Evaluated essays were e-mailed back to each student group, which addressed comments and suggestions during the subsequent week’s laboratory writing time. By the end of the term, writing students had improved their critical thinking skill to above the 52nd percentile whereas nonwriting students decreased to below the 40th percentile.

The fact that prior critical thinking skill also had a large effect on critical thinking performance in this study increases the generalizability of the observation and underscores its importance. Although its effect was smaller than writing or prior critical thinking skill, the instructor variable also played a significant role in student critical thinking performance, accounting for 2. Critical thinking improvement in the writing group was approximately nine times greater than the nonwriting group see Figure 2.

Graduate assistants evaluated each group’s essay typically six per lab section and assigned an initial grade based straregies the thesis-based essay rubric.