“Critical thinking is central to both the National Science Standards [1] and the National Educational Technology Standards [2]. Derek Bok [3] notes that over ninety percent of faculty in the U.S. feel that critical thinking is the most important goal of an undergraduate education. Increasingly, the importance of critical thinking/problem solving skills in the workplace is also being recognized. For example Halpern [4] argues, “virtually every business or industry position that involves responsibility and action in the face of uncertainty would benefit if the people filling that position obtained a high level of the ability to think critically”.”

In M. Iskander (ed.), Innovations in E-learning, Instruction Technology, Assessment, and Engineering Education, 79-82. © 2007 Springer.  Assessing Critical Thinking in STEM and Beyond by Barry Stein, Ada Haynes, Michael Redding, Theresa Ennis, and Misty Cecil Tennessee Technological University. Available online: http://www.tntech.edu/files/cat/reports/Innovationschapter.pdf  

The researchers at Tennessee Tech define critical thinking as having the following domains:

  • Separate factual information from inferences that might be used to interpret those facts.
  • Identify inappropriate conclusions.
  • Understand the limitations of correlational data.
  • Identify evidence that might support or contradict a hypothesis.
  • Identify new information that is needed to draw conclusions.
  • Separate relevant from irrelevant information when solving a problem.
  • Learn and understand complex relationships in an unfamiliar domain.
  • Interpret numerical relationships in graphs and separate those relationships from inferences.
  • Use mathematical skills in the context of solving a larger real world problem.
  • Analyze and integrate information from separate sources to solve a complex problem.
  • Recognize how new information might change the solution to a problem.
  • Communicate critical analyses and problem solutions effectively.