Critical Thinking

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. Students develop an appreciation of the complexities and nuances of problems under investigation by examining the historical, social, and political contexts in which the problem emerged. Core competencies include: explanation of issues, evidence, influence of context and assumptions, student’s position, and conclusions and related outcomes.

Advanced-level indicators are:

  • Issue/problem to be considered critically is stated clearly and described comprehensively, delivering all relevant information necessary for full understanding.
  • Information is taken from source(s) with enough interpretation/evaluation to develop a comprehensive analysis or synthesis.
  • Viewpoints of experts are questioned thoroughly.
  • Thoroughly (systematically and methodically) analyzes own and others’ assumptions and carefully evaluates the relevance of contexts when presenting a position.
  • Specific position (perspective/thesis) is imaginative, taking into account complexities of an issue.
  • Limits of position (perspective/thesis) are acknowledged.
  • Others’ points of view are synthesized within position (perspective/thesis).
  • Conclusions and related outcomes (consequences and implications) are logical and reflect student’s informed evaluation and placement of evidence and perspectives discussed in priority order.