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Critical Thinking Criteria

Definition

There are several definitions of critical thinking. For example, Robert Ennis differentiates critical thinking from higher order thinking and Bloom’s taxonomy (Bloom et al., 1956). He defines it as “reflective and reasonable thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or do” (Ennis, 1985, p. 45). A more recent meta-analysis defines critical thinking as “the ability to engage in purposeful, self-regulatory judgment, is widely recognized as an essential skill for the knowledge age” (Abrami et al., 2008, p. 1102). The AAC&U define it as “a habit of mind characterized by the comprehensive exploration of issues, ideas, artifacts, and events before accepting or formulating an opinion or conclusion” (Rhodes, 2010, p. 1) The author of the Delphi Report (Facione, 1990) interviewed experts in the critical thinking field and concluded that critical thinking is “purposeful, self-regulatory judgment which results in interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and inference, as well as explanation of the evidential, conceptual, methodological, criteriological, or contextual considerations upon which that judgment is based” (Facione, 1990, p. 2). Facione’s (1990) experts recommend six cognitive skills as the core of critical thinking, and each of these cognitive skills has subskills.

Critical Thinking Rubric - Global Miami Plan, 2017
Skill Subskills Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4
  Consistently does all or almost all of the following:

Does most or many of the following: 

Does most or many of the following: Consistently does all or almost all of the following:
Interpretation

Categorization
Decoding Significance
Clarifying Meaning

Offers biased interpretations of evidence, statements, graphics, questions, information, or the points of view of others Misinterprets evidence, statements, graphics, questions, etc. Accurately interprets evidence, statements, graphics, questions, etc. and determines significance Accurately interprets evidence, statements, graphics, questions, etc. and determines significance

Analysis

Examining Ideas
Identifying Arguments
Analyzing Arguments

Fails to identify or hastily dismisses strong, relevant counter-arguments Fails to identify strong, relevant counter-arguments Identifies relevant arguments (reasons and claims) pro and con within the problem context Identifies the salient arguments (reasons and claims) pro and con within the problem context
Evaluation

Assessing Claims
Assessing Arguments

Ignores or superficially evaluates obvious alternative points of view Ignores or superficially evaluates obvious alternative points of view Offers analyses and evaluations of obvious alternative points of view Thoughtfully analyzes and evaluates major alternative points of view

Inference

Querying Evidence
Conjecturing Alternatives
Drawing Conclusions

Argues using fallacious or irrelevant reasons, and unwarranted claims Draws unwarranted or fallacious conclusions Draws warranted, non-fallacious conclusions by querying evidence or conjecturing alternatives Draws warranted, judicious, non-fallacious conclusions by querying evidence and conjecturing alternatives

Explanation

Stating Results
Justifying Procedures
Presenting Arguments

Does not justify results or procedures, nor explain reasons

Justifies few results or procedures, seldom explains reasons

Justifies some results or procedures, explains reasons Justifies key results and procedures, explains assumptions

Self-Regulation (Objectivity)

Self-examination
Self-correction

Regardless of the evidence or reasons, maintains or defends views based on self-interest or preconceptions Regardless of the evidence or reasons, maintains or defends views based on self-interest or preconceptions Fair-mindedly follows where evidence and reasons lead Fair-mindedly follows where evidence and reasons lead

Adapted from Peter A. Facione, Norren Facione, and The California Academic Press, 1994.