However, there are still those in the education establishment and in the media who argue that critical thinking isn't really a thing, or that these skills aren't well defined and, even if they could be defined, they can't be taught or assessed.
First, there are those that argue that critical thinking can only exist when students have a vast fund of knowledge.
Thus, the idea of teaching broadly defined, content-neutral critical thinking skills is impossible.
I agree that there are domain-specific thinking skills that students should learn in each discipline.
Assessing Critical Thinking Skills By defining specific constructs of critical thinking and building thinking routines that support their implementation in classrooms, we have operated under the assumption that students are developing skills that they will be able to transfer to other settings.
However, we recognized both the importance and the challenge of gathering reliable data to confirm this.Once again, we have worked with SCALE to define tasks where students easily access the content but where the cognitive lift requires them to demonstrate their thinking abilities.These assessments demonstrate that it is possible to capture meaningful data on students' critical thinking abilities.Her charts name the components of each routine and has a place for students to record when they've used it and what they have figured out about the routine.By using this structure with a chart that can be added to throughout the year, students see the routines as broadly applicable across disciplines and are able to refine their application over time.They are not intended to be high stakes accountability measures.Instead, they are designed to give students, teachers, and school leaders discrete formative data on hard to measure skills.For example, the difference between constructing claims through deductive versus inductive means is not highlighted in our definition.However, by privileging a definition that has broad applicability across disciplines, we are able to gain traction in developing the roots of critical thinking.However, I also believe that there are several generalizable skills that elementary school students can learn that have broad applicability to their academic and social lives. We began this work by first defining what we mean by critical thinking.After a review of the literature and looking at the practice at other schools, we identified five constructs that encompass a set of broadly applicable skills: schema development and activation; effective reasoning; creativity and innovation; problem solving; and decision making.