Critical Thinking: What It Is and Why It Counts

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This popular and often quoted essay about the meaning and importance of critical thinking was written by Dr. Peter Facione for students and the general public.

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It invites readers to think about critical thinking, and in so doing, it provides a sound and research-based conceptual synthesis describing critical thinking skills and habits of mind. The emphasis in the essay, beyond the definition developed, is on the personally and socially significant uses of critical thinking. Civic engagement without critical thinking may be nothing but noise, polemics, and political deception. This essay is based on the Delphi Expert Consensus conceptualization of “critical thinking” articulated in the 1990 APA Delphi Research Report.

This updated edition expands the discussion of critical thinking by connecting it with recent work in cognitive science. It includes a discussion of several heuristic thinking strategies humans commonly use, identifying their potential advantages and their inherent potential biases. The essay talks about the two human problem-solving systems which appear to operate in parallel; one being more intuitive, reactive, and holistic decision-making, and the other being more reflective, procedural and rule-governed.

Assessing critical thinking skills and mindset

People of all ages and educational levels exhibit critical thinking to a greater or lesser degree.  Insight Assessment test instruments are used globally for all educational levels, kindergarten through doctorate and several professional fields, to evaluate the core critical thinking skills and habits of mind Dr. Facione describes in his essay.

Develop your critical thinking with THINK Critically, Facione & Gittens, Pearson Education, now in its 3rd edition.

Are you interested in assessing your own thinking skills?  Download our personal assessment app, Critical Thinking Insight from your app store.  Get started with the free sample reasoning skills questions and sample reasoning mindset items. Then challenge yourself with other purchasable tools included in the app for your self-evaluation and personal development.

  • For commercial or resale reprint permissions of the  APA Delphi Report or “Critical Thinking What It Is and Why It Counts”  contact Insight Assessment.
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