How Do We Assess Critical Thinking?

Assessing thinking is quite challenging. There are many aspects to consider, and traditional assessments or tests can’t always accomplish this. We can, however, begin to assess critical thinking by breaking it down into different components and then determining criteria you can use with students.

In our bestselling book Mindful Assessment, we aligned the skills of Solution Fluency to the levels of Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy. These following rubrics for assessing critical thinking cover some of its most crucial aspects, and are also based on the stages of Bloom’s Taxonomy. They can be used for teacher or peer assessment.

It’s worth noting that these rubrics are not meant to provide a comprehensive outlook of the ideal critical thinker, as critical thinking assessment isn’t exact. Instead, they are merely a beginning snapshot for you to expand on. As such, there are many other factors to take into account beyond what’s presented below. What we want to provide for you here is a starting point for contemplating how critical thinking assessment can be approached.

These charts will provide a good baseline to work with, and you can get the full versions of them from Wabisabi Learning or by clicking on the image below. Beyond this, feel free to expand on their concepts as you develop different assessment strategies for different learners.

Reflection and Next Steps

Critical thinking is a skill for learning and for living. Like any other skill, the more we practice the better we get. What are you going to do to begin thinking more critically? How do you want to bring more of an awareness of the importance of these skills to your learners?

Here are some suggestions below that will help you (and your learners) to begin thinking more critically. Choose to do one a day, or begin a more detailed program of implementing multiple strategies into your daily life.

  1. Ask more questions
  2. Question more assumptions
  3. Explore (don’t simply accept) another’s point of view
  4. Look at something differently than you have before
  5. Keep a journal 
  6. Read something new and challenging
  7. Get involved in more group discussions
  8. Pay more attention to how you think and speak
  9. Formulate an opinion on something unfamiliar to you
  10. Reflect more on decisions you’ve made (or didn’t make)
  11. Listen more actively
  12. Investigate something
  13. Question or challenge a long-held belief you have
  14. Make a prediction about something
  15. Find an “orphan problem” and take it on

Let’s take the next steps together.

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