Critical Thinking

Compositive Model

Critical Thinking

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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