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THINK!. Critical Thinking In Every Classroom New Faculty Orientation August 16, 2008. The Age of the Acronym. SACS: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools QEP: Quality Enhancement Plan VCCS: Virginia Community College System CCTST: California Critical Thinking Skills Test

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Critical Thinking In Every Classroom

New Faculty Orientation

August 16, 2008

the age of the acronym
The Age of the Acronym

SACS: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

QEP: Quality Enhancement Plan

VCCS: Virginia Community College System

CCTST: California Critical Thinking Skills Test

CCSSE: Community College Survey of Student Engagement

the qep at lfcc

Because of results from the 2006 CCTST and the 2005 CCSSE survey, along with discussions among faculty and staff, we chose CRITICAL THINKING (CT) as the focus of our QEP.

The purpose of the QEP is to create a culture of critical thinking which permeates all aspects of the College community, with an outcome of improved critical thinking skills in our students.


What is critical thinking?

Well, it’s hard to define, and some would say that it doesn’t even exist! (see, for example, Willingham, 2007).

Others say it’s just educational jargon for what we used to call thinking…

thinking means

Thinking means…

Explaining, analyzing, and synthesizing what we see, hear, and read

Using creativity to discover multiple solutions and diverse approaches to issues

Seeing connections and patterns

Evaluating claims and evidence to draw reasonable conclusions

Finding relevant information to address tasks and problems

Justifying conclusions and solutions

Reflecting on how we think and learn.

Applying concepts to real-world problems


However it is defined, over 90% of faculty across the country today argue that critical thinking is the main purpose of undergraduate education. (Derek Bok, President Emeritus, Harvard)

3 broad goals lfcc qep
3 Broad Goals, LFCC QEP

1. Foster awareness and understanding of critical thinking among College employees in all disciplines and units.

2. Enhance critical thinking skills in all LFCC degree, certificate, and workforce development programs.

3. Encourage critical thinking practice outside the classroom.

some more acronyms
Some More Acronyms

SLO: Student Learning Outcome

CCS: Course Content Summary

CAG: Course Assessment Guide

For the QEP, we have selected the six VCCS critical thinking SLOs as our learning outcomes for assessment. EVERY course at LFCC must include one of these CT SLOs.

so what
So What?

If each course lists a CT SLO on the CCS,


Each course must include a CT SLO on the syllabus, AND

Each course must include assignments and assessments based on the CT SLO.

critical thinking slos
Critical Thinking SLOs

Degree graduates will demonstrate the ability to:

2.1 Discriminate among degrees of credibility, accuracy, and reliability of inferences drawn from given data

2.2 Recognize parallels, assumptions, or presuppositions in any given source of information

ct slos

2.3 Evaluate the strengths and relevance of arguments on a particular question or issue

2.4 Weigh evidence and decide if generalizations or conclusions based on the given data are warranted

ct slos1

2.5 Determine whether certain conclusions or consequences are supported by the information provided.

2.6 Use problem solving skills.

thus faculty should
Thus, faculty should…

KNOW the CT SLO for the course(s) they teach,

IDENTIFY and SCHEDULE assignments that support that SLO with practice and feedback,

ASSESS the SLO, using the faculty designed instrument/measurement (for courses being assessed in fall 2008), and

SHARE experiences, successes, struggles, tips, techniques, questions, and insights with other faculty.


We are asking that you

* Make your classroom an on-going experiment

* Pay attention to results from CAGs for courses you are teaching

* Assess your own teaching in relation to critical thinking SLOs




What am I doing in my classes?





a little self assessment
A little self-assessment…

At what stage of Bloom’s taxonomy are…

* My class discussion questions?

* My homework assignments?

* My project and research assignments?

* My test questions?

* My PowerPoint presentations?

Can I “QEP” one of these to enhance critical thinking?

Another tool

for reflection

for self-evaluation

for teaching

for discussion…

The Ox pictures…

(The pictures shown are those of the Kyoto woodblock artist Tomikichiro Tokuriki. They are taken from Paul Reps, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, Charles E. Tuttle Co., Rutland, Vermont and Tokyo. Internet reference:

questions comments
Questions? Comments?

Miriam Moore

Professor of English/ESL

Lord Fairfax Community College

[email protected]