Considering multiple perspectives requires students to leave behind their own opinions when they cannot support them with facts This phenomenon was previously observed by Quitadamo, Brahler, and Crouch unpublished results in a related study that investigated the effect of Peer Led Team Learning on critical thinking performance. Theory, Research, Practice, and Possibilities. Factors like gender, ethnicity, and academic ability that are not directly associated with writing but may nonetheless influence its effectiveness have also not been sufficiently accounted for in previous work Rivard, Every student within a discipline needs to learn facts and acquire basic knowledge in introductory classes. If critical thinking skills change during an academic quarter, when does that take place?

Is it reasonable or just to expect otherwise comparable students to perform at similar levels when only some of them have the keys for success? Building on existing research and on the basis of several lines of evidence presented in this study, we conclude that writing positively influences critical thinking performance for general education biology students. Science for All Americans. Assessment of Critical Thinking Using critical thinking to indicate student learning performance is particularly useful because it can be measured within and across disciplines. Handbook of Research on Science Teaching and Learning. Building a Nation of Learners:

Teaching Critical Thinking

Although the authors delineate the usefulness thinklng several composition strategies for writing in biology Taylor and Sobota,it was unclear whether student data were used to support their recommendations. Includes theory, research, and practice from key programs. Does writing in laboratory affect strategues thinking performance in general education biology?

Prior research on critical thinking indicates that students’ behavioral dispositions do not change in the short term Giancarlo and Facione,but cognitive skills can be developed over a relatively short period of time Quitadamo, Brahler, and Crouch, unpublished results. Additional research will be necessary to gain further insight into this question.

SinceAmerican education has tried—with some success—to make a fundamental shift from traditional teacher-focused instruction to more student-centered constructivist learning that encourages discovery, reflection, and in general is thought to improve student critical thinking skill.

In his extensive review of writing research, Rivard indicated that gaps in writing research limit its inferential scope, particularly within the sciences. Specifically, business leaders are calling for graduates who possess advanced analysis and communication skills, for instructional methods that improve lifelong learning, and ultimately for an educational system that builds a nation of innovative and effective thinkers Business-Higher Education Forum and American Council on Education, Coincidentally, student content knowledge did not differ significantly between the treatment and control sections, indicating that development of thinking skill did not occur at the expense of content knowledge Ebert-May et al.


On the first day of lecture, students in the writing treatment group were told that their laboratory performance would be evaluated using collaborative essays instead of traditional quizzes.

Kurfiss, Joanne Gainen [WorldCat Identities]

In contrast to behavioral disposition, prior encourate indicates that critical thinking skills can be measurably changed in weeks. By improving their critical thinking skills in science, general education students will be better able to deal with the broad scientific, economic, social, and political issues they will face in the future.

If college instructors want general education students to think critically about science, they will need to use teaching methods that improve student critical thinking performance. To more fully evaluate this assumption, distributions of total and component critical thinking skill were constructed see Figure 1A—D.

kurfiss strategies to encourage critical thinking

Most widely held works by Joanne Gainen Kurfiss. Two different instructors taught five writing sections and five other instructors taught 11 traditional sections over three consecutive quarters.

A review of writing to learn in science: How might writing in general education biology affect the analysis, inference, and evaluation skills that are inherent to critical thinking? Education stratgeies Learning To Think.

kurfiss strategies to encourage critical thinking

Each student group submitted a final draft that was re-evaluated and assigned a final grade. Science for All Americans.

kurfiss strategies to encourage critical thinking

Specifically, students with the highest prior critical thinking skill showed the largest performance gains, whereas students with low initial skill were at a comparative disadvantage. Of the relatively few noninstructional variables fo in those studies, gender and major did not affect critical thinking performance; however, the amount of time spent on and the explicitness of xritical to teach reasoning skills did affect overall critical thinking performance.


The observation that students who come to general education biology with greater critical thinking skills leave with the largest skill gains has important implications for the K—12 school system as well. Although not explicitly an investigation of critical thinking, results from a relatively recent study support a stronger connection between writing and reasoning ability Daempfle, Daempfle justified his conclusions by systematically describing the methodological inconsistencies for each study.

Group work can be helpful, since students have the opportunity to work through a problem together and discuss difficulties. However, conclusions from early writing to learn studies were limited by confounding research designs and mismatches between writing activities and measures of student learning Ackerman, How do instructors specifically influence student gains in critical thinking?

In addition to writing, prior critical thinking skill and course instructor significantly affected critical thinking performance, with prior critical thinking skill having the largest effect on critical thinking gains of any variable tested.

Kurfiss, Joanne Gainen

Profile of change in critical thinking performance in writing group. Primary course differences included a writing component in the laboratory, and how much time was devoted to laboratory activities. Pretest scores indicating prior critical thinking skill were also used to further establish stratgies between the writing and nonwriting groups.

Ten total sections of general education biology offered over three academic quarters one academic year were included in the study. Harvard University Press; Instead of individually developing course materials, writing faculty collaborated to a greater extent than nonwriting faculty on course design and assessments that required students to demonstrate their critical thinking skill.

In this context, writing may provide opportunity for students to think through arguments and use higher-order thinking skills to respond to complex problems Marzano,