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Critical Thinking Rubrics

Critical Thinking Rubrics

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Critical Thinking Rubrics

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  1. Critical Thinking Rubrics David Hunter, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Chair Philosophy and Humanities Buffalo State College, SUNY November 4, 2005

  2. Today’s Plan • What is Critical Thinking? Fleshing out the SUNY Critical Thinking Learning outcomes. 2. Designing a Rubric. 3. The Rubric in Action. 4. Q&A

  3. What is Critical Thinking? Students will • Identify, analyze and evaluatearguments as they occur in their own and others’ work; and • Develop well-reasoned arguments.

  4. First Task Flesh out the key elements: • Identifying arguments • Analyzing arguments • Evaluating arguments • Developing well-reasoned arguments

  5. Identify Arguments What is an argument?

  6. Identify Arguments What is an argument? A connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition. Monty Python’s Flying Circus

  7. Identify Arguments The Logic 101 Model: All men are mortal. Premises Are they true? Socrates is a man. Socrates is mortal. Conclusion Does it follow? All As are Bs. X is an A.Logical Form Is it X is a B. valid?

  8. Identify Arguments Can this model apply across the curriculum? What about reasoning in biology, sociology, history or fine arts?

  9. Identify Arguments These should count as arguments: • Designing an experiment to test an hypothesis. • Predicting the outcome of some process. • Deciding on the best measurement technique. • Explaining the causes of some historical event. • Evaluating a work of art or performance.

  10. Identify Arguments A better conception of argument: Any reasoning aimed at deciding what to believe or to do. Students should be able to • identify the characteristic features of such reasoning. • evaluate instances of it.

  11. Analyze Arguments • Identify an argument’s premises, definitions and assumptions What evidence is put forward? What results are reported?

  12. Analyze Arguments • Identify an argument’s premises, definitions and assumptions What do the key words and terms mean? How might we define them? What methods can we use to define?

  13. Analyze Arguments • Identify an argument’s premises, definitions and assumptions What is being left unsaid? Can we make it explicit? What methods can we use to make them explicit?

  14. AnalyzeArguments • Identify the argument’s conclusion What is the take home message? What is the report’s recommendation? What is the experiment designed to show? Isolate it from the premises.

  15. Evaluate Arguments • Judge whether an argument’s premises support the conclusion, independently of whether they are true.

  16. Evaluate Arguments • Judge whether an argument’s premises support the conclusion, independently of whether they are true. If the premises were true, would that be sufficient reason to believe the conclusion?

  17. Evaluate Arguments • Judge whether an argument’s premises are reasonable to believe, independently of whether they support the conclusion

  18. Evaluate Arguments • Judge whether an argument’s premises are reasonable to believe, independently of whether they support the conclusion Even if they support the conclusion, they might be unacceptable.

  19. Evaluate Arguments What is the source of the premises and is it credible? • When is an experiment well-designed? • When is measurement accurate and precise? • When is testimony trustworthy? • When can we trust observation?

  20. Develop Well-Reasoned Arguments Develop an argument for some conclusion. e.g., • Proposing an experiment to test some hypothesis • Evaluating a work of art • Predicting the impact of some public policy • Explaining the decline of rust-belt cities • Arguing that we have no free will

  21. Develop Well-Reasoned Arguments Students should identify • Relevant qualifications and distinctions • Questions about source credibility • Objections and respond to them • Alternative conclusions and address them

  22. Develop Well-Reasoned Arguments Describe the broader context • Why does it matter whether the conclusion is true? • What follows from it? • What would its truth show?

  23. Develop Well-Reasoned Arguments Apply similar reasoning in another case • Where else can we use this • Experimental design • Measuring instrument • How can we generalize the lessons of this case?

  24. Designing a Rubric We established levels of competence for each outcome.

  25. Students will identify, analyze, and evaluate arguments as they occur in their own and others’ work: Exceeding: The student’s work • Identifies the target argument and clearly distinguishes it from any extraneous elements such as expressions of mere opinion and descriptions of events.

  26. Students will identify, analyze, and evaluate arguments as they occur in their own and others’ work: Exceeding: The student’s work • Carefully articulates the argument’s conclusion, clearly distinguishes it from its premises and identifies most relevant definitions and/or hidden assumptions.

  27. Students will identify, analyze, and evaluate arguments as they occur in their own and others’ work: Exceeding: The student’s work • Clearly and correctly assesses whether the argument’s premises provide sufficient logical support for the conclusion, independently of whether the premises are true.

  28. Students will identify, analyze, and evaluate arguments as they occur in their own and others’ work: Exceeding: The student’s work • Clearly and correctly assesses the reasonableness of the premises, including the credibility of their sources, independently of whether the premises support the conclusion.

  29. Students will develop well-reasoned arguments: Exceeding:The student’s work • Develops a clearly articulated argument, using evidence and/or systematic logical reasoning in support of a conclusion or point of view.

  30. Students will develop well-reasoned arguments: Exceeding:The student’s work • Identifies relevant qualifications or objections or alternative points of view and prioritizes evidence and/or reasons in support of the conclusion.

  31. Students will develop well-reasoned arguments: Exceeding:The student’s work • Describes the broader relevance, significance or context of the issue and/or applies it to a novel problem.

  32. The Rubric in Action No history of designing student assignments to assess CT competency. • unlike writing and math

  33. The Rubric in Action Some questions: 1. Have we captured Critical Thinking across the curriculum? Skills or kinds of arguments left out?

  34. The Rubric in Action Some questions: 2. Have we correctly identified the standards of competence? Are we expecting too much/little?

  35. The Rubric in Action Some questions: 3. How can we use the rubric to design assessment instruments? Does it require student essay(s)? Embedded in course content? What about the “in-betweens”?

  36. The Rubric in Action Some questions: 1.Have we captured Critical Thinking across the curriculum? 2.Have we correctly identified the standards of competence? 3.How can we use the rubric to design assessment instruments? Only time and trial will tell.

  37. The Rubric in Action An Important Distinction CT Competencies. Do students know how to think critically? CT Dispositions. Are the students inclined to think critically?

  38. The Rubric in Action Lots of guidance. In his essay “The Ethics of Belief”, William Clifford claims that the ship owner he describes had no right to believe on the basis of the evidence he had before him that his ship was safe. What does Clifford mean by that? What reasons does he offer in support of it? Are these reasons good? Why/ why not? What, in your view, is the strongest reason against his view? How do you think he might reply to it? Good for assessing competence, but not dispositions.

  39. The Rubric in Action No guidance at all. Should Articles 23, 24 and 25 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights be added as amendments to the US Constitution? Lack of disposition might mask strong competence.

  40. The Rubric in Action Middle Ground. • incorporate the rubric into course content. • distribute the rubric with the assignment. Q: isn’t this teaching to the rubric?

  41. The Rubric in Action Anchor Essays www.cortland.edu/gear/CTAnchors.final.pdf

  42. Q&A David Hunter, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Chair Philosophy and Humanities Buffalo State College, SUNY hunterda@buffalostate.edu