Core Critical Thinking Skills

Core Critical Thinking Skills-43
How about this: after judging that it would be useful to you to resolve a given uncertainty, developing a workable plan to gather that information?Or, when faced with a problem, developing a set of options for addressing it.

How about judging an author*s or speakers credibility, comparing the strengths and weaknesses of alternative interpretations, determining the credibility of a source of information, judging if two statements contradict each other, or judging if the evidence at hand supports the conclusion being drawn?

Among the examples the experts propose are these: "recognizing the factors which make a person a credible witness regarding a given event or a credible authority with regard to a given topic," "judging if an argument*s conclusion follows either with certainty or with a high level of confidence from its premises," 2 The findings of expert consensus cited or reported in this essay are published in Critical Thinking: A Statement of Expert Consensus for Purposes of Educational Assessment and Instruction. Facione, principle investigator, The California Academic Press, Millbrae, CA, 1990. In 1993/94 the Center for the Study of Higher Education at The Pennsylvania State University undertook a study of 200 policy- makers, employers, and faculty members from two-year and four- year colleges to determine what this group took to be the core critical thinking skills and habits of mind.

The Pennsylvania State University Study, under the direction of Dr.

Elizabeth Jones, was funded by the US Department of Education Office of Educational Research and Instruction.

Are they good at interpretation, analysis, and evaluation? And your examples of poor critical thinkers, are they lacking in these cognitive skills? To the experts inference means "to identify and secure elements needed to draw reasonable conclusions; to form conjectures and hypotheses; to consider relevant information and to educe the consequences flowing from data, statements, principles, evidence, judgments, beliefs, opinions, concepts, descriptions, questions, or other forms of representation." As sub-skills of inference the experts list querying evidence, conjecturing alternatives, and drawing conclusions. You might suggest things like seeing the implications of the position someone is advocating, or drawing out or constructing meaning from the elements in a reading.

You may suggest that predicting what will happen next based what is known about the forces at work in a given situation, or formulating a synthesis of related ideas into a coherent perspective.Again, can you come up with some examples of analysis?What about identifying the similarities and differences between two approaches to the solution of a given problem?What about picking out the main claim made in a newspaper editorial and tracing back the various reasons the editor offers in support of that claim?Or, what about identifying unstated assumptions; constructing a way to represent a main conclusion and the various reasons given to support or criticize it; sketching the relationship of sentences or paragraphs to each other and to the main purpose of the passage?In a sense this is critical thinking applied to itself.Because of that some people want to call this "meta-cognition," meaning it raises thinking to another level.What about graphically organizing this essay, in your own way, knowing that its purpose is to give a preliminary idea about what critical thinking means?The experts define evaluation as meaning "to assess the credibility of statements or other representations which are accounts or descriptions of a person*s perception, experience, situation, judgment, belief, or opinion; and to assess the logical strength of the actual or intended inferential relationships amongstatements,descriptions, questions or other forms of representation." Your examples?You can monitor and correct an interpretation you offered.You can examine and correct an inference you have drawn.


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