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Publications by Insight Assessment Senior Researchers

Published Research about critical thinking, heuristics, assessment design, skills and dispositions by Insight Assessment senior researchers, Dr. Noreen C Facione, Dr. Peter A. Facione  and Dr. Carol Ann Gittens include:

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Assessing Numeracy in the Upper Elementary and Middle School Years

Author: Carol Ann Gittens, Ph.D.
Santa Clara University, cgittens@scu.edu
NUMERACY: Advancing Education in Quantitative Literacy, Volume 8 | Issue 1, Jan 2015.

Abstract

Numeracy is the ability or tendency to reason critically about quantitative information. The preponderance of published research on numeracy examines this construct among either pre-K or early elementary samples, students with developmental challenges, or is focused on post-secondary and adult cohorts. The numeracy skills of upper-elementary and middle school students is less documented and understood, most notably because of the lack of valid instruments that are developmentally appropriate for the age range. A numeracy scale for use among upper-elementary and middle school students is introduced in this paper. Scale validation was performed using a gender-balanced, racially / ethnically diverse sample of 3rd through 8th grade students (N=197) from a private, Catholic K-8 school in Santa Clara County, California. Construct validity is supported by strong, positive correlations with the three subscales of the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) as well as the Iowa Test of Basic Skills Mathematics test, a standardized academic achievement domain assessment. A preliminary exploration of the critical-thinking dispositional correlates of numeracy suggests a positive relationship with students’ self-reported creative problem solving, diligence, systematicity, and fairmindedness.

Link to full paper: Numeracy

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Critical Thinking and Clinical Judgment

Noreen C. Facione and Peter A. Facione, “Critical Thinking and Clinical Judgment,” from Critical Thinking and Clinical Reasoning in the Health Sciences: A Teaching Anthology, 2008. Published by Insight Assessment / The California Academic Press: San Jose CA. pp. 1-13. © 2008 NC Facione & PA Facione, Hermosa Beach, CA. 

Excerpt: "Lives depend on competent clinical reasoning. Thus it is a moral imperative for health care providers to strive to monitor and improve their clinical reasoning and care related judgments. Knowing that this is the agreement owed to the public trust, agencies responsible for the accreditation of professional training programs and for the oversight of health care delivery have mandated the need to demonstrate competence in clinical reasoning in health care clinicians and students."

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Talking Critical Thinking

In this allegorical essay, which appeared in Change: The Magazine of Higher Education, we walk side by side with an academic dean who is preparing to explain to the Board of Trustees the importance of critical thinking.  Between the dean’s office and the Board’s meeting room we encounter members of the faculty, staff professionals, senior administrators and coaches.  Each encounter provides the dean with another insight into critical thinking.  Travel with the dean and reflect on the  progress of our understanding of critical thinking.  Imagine how you would explain critical thinking to people outside of academia. 

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Facione, NC, and Facione PA, (2001). International Journal of Applied Philosophy, Volume 15. Number 2, pp. 267-286. [PDF of this article made available with the permission of the publisher. See journal front-matter for information on copy costs.]

Abstract:People make significant decisions in contexts of risk and uncertainty. Some of these decisions seem wise under the circumstances, and others seem like irrational choices. In both cases, people offer reasons as clarifications and explanations of these choices to others and to themselves. Argument analysis, a technique well known in philosophy and more generally in the humanities, can explicate the strands of assumptions, intermediate conclusions, data, warrants, and claims that the person articulates. But alone, argument analysis often falls short of revealing why the person’s decision makes sense to that person. The findings of empirical research into the influences of cognitive heuristics, the mental shortcuts we all use in decision making and problem solving, adds focus to the analysis of these choices. This paper links these two powerful analytic strategies, and provides a much fuller, more fruitful picture of explanations for seemingly irrational choices. Using an example explanation for deciding not to quit smoking, the paper makes both its methodological argument and its implicit argument for the significance of extending this analytical strategy to applied contexts. The implications of extending this analysis of everyday argument to management, health care, and education could be profound.

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(26 pages) Giancarlo (Gittens), CA., and Facione PA., Journal of General Education, Volume 50, Number 1, pp. 29-55. [PDF of this article made available with the permission of the publisher. See journal front-matter for information on copy costs.]

Abstract:This article examines the critical thinking (CT) dispositions, as measured by the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory, of students at a four-year, private, liberal arts, comprehensive university. This paper follows up results first published in 1995. The present findings represent another snapshot of CT dispositions among students who participated in 1996 and during the original investigation in 1992. Longitudinal results about students tested as freshman in 1992 and again as seniors in 1996 are presented. Cross sectional results are reported as well. Questions explored include the relationship between the disposition toward critical thinking, as measured by the CCTDI, and students’ major, gender, class level, and grade point average.

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(12 Pages) Facione, PA. (2000) Paper presented to the American Bible Society, New York. [This PDF download file is being made available with permission of the author and copyright holder.]

Abstract: “Reason is a light that God has kindled in the soul.” Aristotle. “Reason, however sound, has little weight with ordinary theologians.” Baruch Spinosa. For humans the impetus toward thinking is as natural as is an eagle’s impetus to fly. Birds have wings and no one asks them should they fly. Yet, although humans have minds, we sometimes wonder whether or not we should think. Our research on the aspect of critical thinking called “truthseeking” shows that many endorse the notions that some questions are too frightening to ask and that they actually seek reasons to support their preconceptions rather than evidence to the contrary. Some thoughts are simply too disturbing to be entertained, and some matters too sacred to be scientifically investigated. On the other hand, the overall disposition toward reasoned judgment is strong. Can we reconcile our natural inclination toward reasoning with the risks that cherished beliefs may be discovered to be unfounded? We are all aware that these tensions are no place more evident than in the frequent and bitter clashes between reason and religion.

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Facione, PA, Sánchez, (Gittens) CA, Facione, NC, & Gainen, J., (1995). Journal of General Education. Volume 44, Number 1, pp. 1-25. [This PDF made available with the permission of the publisher. See journal front-matter for information on copy costs.] (17 pages)

Abstract: There is a set of characterological attributes thought to be associated with developing success at critical thinking (CT). This paper explores the disposition toward CT theoretically, and then as it appears to be manifest in college students. Factor analytic research grounded in a consensus-based conceptual analysis of CT described seven aspects of the overall disposition toward CT: truthseeking, open-mindedness, analyticity, systematicity, CT confidence, inquisitiveness, and cognitive maturity. The California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory (CCTDI), developed in 1992, was used to sample college students at two comprehensive universities. Entering college freshman students showed strengths in open-mindedness and inquisitiveness, weaknesses in systematicity and opposition to truthseeking. Additional research indicates the disposition toward CT is highly correlated with the psychological constructs of absorption and openness to experience, and strongly predictive of ego-resiliency. A preliminary study explores the interesting and potentially complex interrelationship between the disposition toward CT and CT abilities. In addition to the significance of this work for psychological studies of human development, empirical research on the disposition toward CT promises important implications for all levels of education.

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Motivation to Think in Working and Learning

(17 pages) Facione, PA, Facione NC, and Giancarlo (Gittens), CA. This essay was originally published by the California Academic Press in 1996. An abbreviated form appears in Jones, E (Ed.) Preparing Competent College Graduates: Setting New and Higher Expectations for Student Learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers. 67-79. This material is used with the permission of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Consult their website for information and permission to make copies.

Abstract: How can we habituate learners and workers to engage in thoughtful, fair-minded problem solving, decision making, and professional judgment? Demands for skillful and fair-minded thinkers arise today in every professional field and in our civic and personal lives. The pace of change accelerates, multiple sources of information saturate our senses, the rules are rewritten, and problems arise daily that defy predetermined solutions. At a minimum, to be effective learners and successful workers we must be willing and able to make informed, fair-minded, judgments in contexts of relative uncertainty about what to believe and what to do in a wide variety of situations. To go beyond the minimum, workers, learners, and citizens must be willing and able to critique intelligently and amend judiciously the methods, conceptualizations, contexts, evidence, and standards applied in any given problem situation. In short, we must habitually, not just skillfully, engage in critical thinking in a world that is so dynamic that today’s verities are yesterday's misconceptions. Thus the driving question: how is the consistent internal motivation to think critically identified, measured, and nurtured?

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(17 Pages) This essay is an earlier version of a paper published in 1999 in French. Facione, PA, Facione, NC, Giancarlo (Gittens), CA, Ferguson, N, (1999). Le jugement professionnel et la disposition à la pensée critique. Guilbert, L, Boisvert, J., and Ferguson, N (Eds.) Enseigner et compredre: le développement d´une pensée critique. Quebec, Canada: Les Presses de l´Université Laval. 307-26.

Abstract: Professionals are expected to exercise sound, unbiased judgment in interpreting and analyzing information, determining the nature of problems, identifying and evaluating alternative courses of action, making decisions, and, throughout, monitoring the process and impact of their problem solving activity so as to amend, revise, correct, or alter their decisions, or any element that led up to those decisions, as deemed necessary. Judgment in professional practice, correctly exercised, is a reflective, self-corrective, purposeful thinking process which requires the professional to take into account content knowledge, context, evidence, methods, conceptualizations, and a variety of criteria and standards of adequacy. Professional judgment is what educators have called “critical thinking” but exercised in a practical, professional setting. The exercise of sound judgment requires both a willingness and the ability to think critically. The multiplicity of parameters affecting professional judgment has direct implications for the education of novice and more advanced practitioners. Given the relationship between professional judgment and the disposition toward critical thinking, scientific investigations of that disposition have direct implications for educating and evaluating professionals.

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The assessment of graduating students' critical thinking skills and habits of mind challenges and rewards those who approach the task from a critical thinking perspective

Facione, NC, Facione, PA, (1996). Holistic Nursing Practice, Volume 10, Number 3, pp. 41-53

Abstract: The assessment of graduating students' critical thinking skills and habits of mind challenges and rewards those who approach the task from a critical thinking perspective. This paper identifies and discusses issues in the design of authentic assessments of critical thinking as an educational outcome predictive of competent professional judgment in professional practice programs. The paper uses as its running example programs in nursing, but is applicable to programs in business, engineering, social work, teacher preparation, and other areas of professional practice.. Authentic assessment implies a multiple methods design which address the diverse contexts within which judgments must be made by professional nurses. Most important, it implies a concern for validity and reliability of measurement, selection of appropriate data-points, and attention to a number of logistical and practical concerns. Keywords: Outcomes assessment, critical thinking, portfolio assessment, testing, clinical judgment, professional judgment, nursing education.

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(15 Pages),Facione, NC, Facione, PA, (1996). Nursing Outlook, Volume 44, pages 129-36 [This PDF download file is being made available here with the permission of the journal editor and publisher.]

Abstract: Critical thinking, defined as purposeful, self-regulatory judgment, is centrally evident in nursing knowledge development and expert clinical judgment. A holistic critical thinking scoring rubric, a framework for critical thinking individual and group presentations, and a case study strategy for training and nurturing critical thinking in students illustrate that the critical thinking in nursing knowledge development and clinical judgment an be externalized, taught, modeled, and measured. The approaches suggested here can be adapted to other professional practice programs and fields.

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Assessing critical thinking skills and the disposition to use them is crucial in nursing education and research.

Facione, NC, Facione, PA, and Giancarlo (Gittens), CA, (1994). Journal of Nursing Education. Volume 33, Number 8, pp. 345-350.Abstract: Assessing critical thinking skills and the disposition to use them is crucial in nursing education and research. The CCTDI uses the Delphi Report's consensus definition of Critical thinking as the theoretical basis to measure the disposition toward critical thinking. Item analysis and factor analysis techniques were used to create seven attribute scales that grouped the Delphi descriptive phrases into larger, more unified constructs: Open-mindedness, Analyticity, Cognitive Maturity, Truthseeking, Systematicity, Inquisitiveness, and Self-Confidence. The initial reliability coefficients (Cronbach's alpha .90 overall and .71 -.80 for the seven internal scales) remained relatively stable when the 75-item instrument was administered to 1,019 additional college students (.90 overall, .60 -.78 scales). The instrument has subsequently been used to assess the disposition toward critical thinking in junior high school through the doctoral level. Psychometric research using the CCTDI and related instruments offers the potential of testing a number of interesting hypotheses regarding the attributes of mind which might contribute to improved clinical judgment and critical thinking in nursing.

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Critical Thinking: What It Is and Why It Counts

Critical Thinking: What It is and Why It Counts: an essay written by Dr. Peter Facione, a leading authority in critical thinking. This essay is periodically updated to capture new findings and discussion points to help trainees explore the domain of critical thinking in all aspects of life and work. Author and the publisher hold copyright, ISBN 13: 978-1-891557-07-1. Permission is granted for paper, electronic, or digital copies to be made in unlimited amounts for purposes of advancing education and improving critical thinking, provided that distribution of copies is free of charge and properly cited when extracted in whole or in part.    More on this essay   

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