On Critical Thinking

– Abrami PC, Bernard RM, Borokhovski E, Wadem A, Surkes M A, Tamim R, Zhang D. 2008. Instructional interventions affecting critical thinking skills and dispositions: a stage 1 meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research. 78:1102-1134.

The most recent and extended meta-analysis until now. It ‘…summarizes the available empirical evidence on the impact of instruction on the development and enhancement of critical thinking skills and dispositions.’ . Conclusions:
1. Training in critical thinking works.
2. In regard to the question of how to plan a curriculum in such a way that students are successfully developing their critical thinking skills:

♦ ‘ This is an important finding for the design of courses. Developing CT skills separately and then applying them to course content explicitly works best.’
♦ ‘ When instructors received special advanced training in preparation for teaching CT skills…the impacts of the interventions were greatest.’
♦ ‘ As important as the development of CT skills is, educators must take steps to make CT objectives explicit in courses and to integrate them into both pre service and in-service training and faculty development.’ ( Abrami, p. 1121-1122).

– Davies, W.M., In Defence of Generalisation: Moore on the Critcal Thinking Debate (2004).

– Higgins S, Hall E, Baumfield V, Moseley D (2005) A meta-analysis of the impact of the implementation of thinking skills approaches on pupils. In: Research Evidence in Education Library. London: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London.

‘Overall, the quantitative synthesis indicates that, when thinking skills programs and approaches are used in schools, they are effective in improving pupils’ performance on a range of tested outcomes (relative to those who did not receive thinking skills interventions). The magnitude of the gains found appears to be important when compared with the reported effect sizes of other educational interventions. This review found an overall mean effect of 0.62 for the main (cognitive) effect of each of the included studies, larger than the mean of Hattie’s vast database of meta-analyses at 0.4 (Hattie, 1999) but very similar to the overall figure reported by Marzano (1998, p 76) of 0.65 for interventions across the knowledge, cognitive, metacognitive and self-system domains. In particular, our study identified metacognitive interventions as having relatively greater impact, similar to Marzano’s study.’

– Marin, L.M., Halpern, D.F., Pedagogy for developing critical thinking in adolescents: Explicit instruction produces greatest gains. Thinking Skills and Creativity,Volume 6, Issue 1, April 2011.