Rubric For Critical Thinking

A review of critical thinking tests can be found at the web site of the National Postsecondary Education Cooperative (US Department of Education)at

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The definitions that follow were developed to clarify terms and concepts used in this rubric only.

Individuals are welcome to reproduce the VALUE rubrics for use in the classroom, on educational web sites, and in campus intra-institutional publications.

This rubric is designed to be transdisciplinary, reflecting the recognition that success in all disciplines requires habits of inquiry and analysis that share common attributes.

Further, research suggests that successful critical thinkers from all disciplines increasingly need to be able to apply those habits in various and changing situations encountered in all walks of life.

The utility of the VALUE rubrics is to position learning at all undergraduate levels within a basic framework of expectations such that evidence of learning can by shared nationally through a common dialog and understanding of student success.

Critical thinking is a habit of mind characterized by the comprehensive exploration of issues, ideas, artifacts, and events before accepting or formulating an opinion or conclusion.After describing some content-free critical thinking tests as a result of the Delphi project, this article describes holistic and analytical rubrics developed by various practitioners, ending with examples that provide useful feedback on student thinking without using rubrics.In the late 1980's a subcommittee of the the American Philosophical Association assembled 46 experts to reach consensus on a definition of critical thinking and how to assess it.For example, to assess student thinking in a multi-section course, faculty would assign the same task requiring thinking to all students normed raters would score a random sample of student work using rubrics.Unless multiple choice questions are designed very well and ask about a novel situation, multiple choice tests are not good indicators of critical thinking because they ask for recall of thinking described in the lectures or textbook.The rubrics are intended for institutional-level use in evaluating and discussing student learning, not for grading.The core expectations articulated in all 16 of the VALUE rubrics can and should be translated into the language of individual campuses, disciplines, and even courses.VALUE rubrics can also be used in commercial databases, software, or assessment products, but prior permission from AAC&U is required.For all uses of rubrics for commercial purposes, each rubric must be maintained in its entirety and without changes.The VALUE rubrics were developed by teams of faculty experts representing colleges and universities across the United States through a process that examined many existing campus rubrics and related documents for each learning outcome and incorporated additional feedback from faculty.The rubrics articulate fundamental criteria for each learning outcome, with performance descriptors demonstrating progressively more sophisticated levels of attainment.


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