Critical thinking “is used to describe thinking that is purposeful, reasoned, and goal-directed—the kind of thinking involved in solving problems, formulating inferences, calculating likelihoods, and making decisions.” ~ Psychology professor Diane Halpern
Regarding critical thinking, social science research has found that:
- Critical thinking is associated with positive outcomes, including better academic and cognitive performance and fewer real world negative life events.
- Halpern developed a critical thinking assessment, and results revealed that critical thinking skills correlate with academic achievement (i.e., GPA), as well as math, spatial, and numerical abilities.
- Another study found that higher levels of critical thinking skills were associated with lower levels of negative real world events, such as spending a night (or more) in jail.
- A study by Halpern and a colleague demonstrated that explicit instruction of critical thinking skills has greater impacts on students’ critical thinking than instruction on critical thinking that is embedded into other subject matter.
- In Ireland, where critical thinking skills were taught in an online course, participation in this online program led to significant gains in critical thinking skills.
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