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2 Average Scores Average total scores for the 101 student papers was 10.31, SD = 2.64, the lowest score was a 5 and the highest score a 15. Average scores on the five criteria of critical thinking: avoids weak arguments M = 1.98, SD =.58, conclusions M = 1.85, SD =.61, identifies broader conditions M = 2.16, SD = 6.1, identifies issues M = 2.23, SD.59, and use of evidence M = 2.08, SD =.59. Gender To determine if there is a difference between genders on mean total critical thinking scores (5-15) an independent samples t-test was conducted between female (N = 34, M = 10.65, SD =.44) and male students (N = 67, M = 10.14, SD =.33). There was not a statistically significant difference between the two groups t (99) =.906, p.367. These results do not indicate a significant difference between females and males on their mean total critical thinking scores. Enrollment Status To determine if there is a difference in enrollment status on mean total critical thinking scores (5-15) an independent samples t-test was conducted between transfer students (N = 54, M = 10.03, SD =.36) and native students (N = 44 M = 10.61, SD =.41). There was not a statistically significant difference between the two groups t (96) = 1.068, p.288. These results do not indicate a significant difference between transfer and native students on their mean total critical thinking scores. Remediation Status To determine if there is a difference in remediation status on mean critical thinking scores (5-15) an independent samples t-test was conducted between students who took one or more college remediation courses (N = 16, M = 11.55, SD =.2.60) and students who did not take college remediation courses (N = 84, M = 10.11, SD = 2.60). The results show a statistically significant difference between the two groups t (98) = , p =.046. The t value of indicates a statistically significant difference on total critical thinking score means (p =.046) for students who took one or more college remediation courses and students that did not take college remediation courses. The results show that students who took one or more college remediation courses had significantly higher total critical thinking scores than students who did not take college remediation courses. Class Status A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted to compare mean total critical thinking score (5-15) across class status (freshmen, sophomore, junior, senior). Since only two students reported being freshmen, this group was combined with the 14 students in the sophomore group, leaving three comparison groups (lower classmen, junior, senior). There was homogeneity of variances, as assessed by Levene s test of homogeneity of variance (p=.225). Mean total critical thinking scores were not significantly different across class status groups, F (2, 98) =.425, p =.655, partial η 2 =.008. These results do not indicate a significant difference in mean total critical thinking scores between lower classmen, juniors and seniors. 2

3 Table 1. Class Status Means and Standard Deviations on Total Critical Thinking Scores Class Status N M SD Lower Classmen Juniors Seniors College A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted to compare mean total critical thinking score (5-15) across eight colleges (College of Agriculture, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, College of Business, College of Communication and Education, College of Engineering Computer Science and Construction Management, College of Humanities and Fine Arts, College of Natural Sciences, and Undergraduate Education). There was homogeneity of variances, as assessed by Levene s test of homogeneity of variance (p=.816). Mean total critical thinking scores was not significantly different across college groups, F (7, 93) =.691, p =.679, partial η 2 =.05. These results do not indicate a significant difference in mean total critical thinking scores across eight colleges. Table 2. College Means and Standard Deviations on Total Critical Thinking Scores Class Status N M SD Agriculture Behavioral & Social Science Business Communication & Education Engineering Computer Science & Construction Management Humanities & Fine Arts Natural Sciences Undergraduate Education Ethnicity A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted to compare mean total critical thinking scores (5-15) across ethnic groups (not specified, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, two or more Ethnicities/Races, White). Since only one student identified as Asian, the Asian Ethnic group was dropped from the analysis, leaving five comparison groups. There was homogeneity of variances, as assessed by Levene s test of homogeneity of variance (p=.231). Total critical thinking scores was not significantly different across Ethnic groups, F (4, 95) =.464, p =.762, partial η 2 =.02. These results do not indicate a significant difference in mean total critical thinking scores across ethnic groups. 3

5 Table 1: CT Quiz Administration: Classes, Enrollment, GE Areas Class Enrollment GE Area Pathway HCSV Social Sciences Health & Wellness HIST/WMST 48 Humanities Gender & Sexuality 335 HIST/MEST 25 Humanities International Studies 363 NFSC Natural Sciences Food Studies, Global Development ENGL Humanities Science, Tech & Values NSCI Natural Sciences Great Books & Ideas PSYC Social Sciences Science, Tech & Values BIOL Natural Sciences Health & Wellness POLS Social Sciences Ethics, Justice & Policy POLS Social Sciences Ethics, Justice & Policy HIST/MEST 47 Humanities International Studies 363 HIST Humanities Food, Sustainability HIST Humanities Food, Sustainability The question with the largest positive point differential (+ 11 percentage points) was Q. 10 on the Spring 16 Quiz, which matches with Q. 15 from Fall13: 10. The Affordable Care Act ( Obama care ) requires most adults to purchase a health insurance policy. Advocates of the requirement say it will reduce the costs of health insurance for the majority of people. Critics argue that forcing people to buy health insurance is like forcing them to eat broccoli, which, they say, is clearly unconstitutional. Which of the following assertions is logically the most relevant criticism of the critics argument? a. The critics are inconsistent in attacking the individual mandate because in fact they were the ones who originally proposed it. b. The critics do not genuinely oppose the individual mandate; they are simply mouthing opposition to embarrass political opponents. c. It has not been conclusively established that broccoli or exercise makes people healthier. d. There is a difference between forcing people to do something for their own good and compelling them to act for the greater good. Correct answer is d. The question with the largest negative point differential (-28 percentage points) was Q. 11 on the Spring 16 Quiz, which corresponds to Q. 15 from Fall 12: 5

6 11. Hey, one English course won t turn anyone into a perfect writer so there is no reason we should be required to take one. Which of the following statements is true about the speaker s reasoning? a. The speaker offers the listener a false choice. b. The speaker offers a strong argument. c. The speaker assumes what she is trying to prove. d. The speaker tries to play on the listener s emotions Correct answer is a. Table 2. Results of Spring 16 CT Quiz Compared to Fall 12, 13 Results (A) F12 question# (B) F12 % correct (C) F13 question# (D) F13 % correct (E) Sp16 question# (F) Sp16 % correct (G) Sp12/13% - Sp16% Average

7 There was a negative 21 point differential on Q. 2: 2. Dr. Mella has five brothers, all Democrats. Chances are he too is a Democrat. Which of the following suppositions increases the strength of this inference, everything being equal? a. Dr. Mella s brothers all live in Dallas Dr. Mella lives somewhere else. b. Dr. Mella s brothers all live in different parts of the country. c. Dr. Mella is the oldest brother. d. Dr. Mella and his brothers are all over six feet tall. Correct answer is b. Gender To determine if there is a difference in gender on mean critical thinking scores (0-20) an independent samples t-test was conducted between female (N = 230, M = 10.73, SD = 3.15) and male students (N = 208, M = 11.58, SD = 3.23). The results show a statistically significant difference between the two groups t (436) = , p =.005. The t value of , indicates a statistically significant difference in mean critical thinking scores (p <.000) between male and female students. Male students scored significantly higher than female students. First Generation To determine if there is a difference on mean critical thinking scores (0-20) between first generation college students (N = 214, M = , SD = 3.12) and non-first generation college students (N = 185, M = , SD = 3.21) an independent samples t-test was conducted. The results show a statistically significant difference between the two groups t (397) = , p <.000. The t value of , indicates a statistically significant difference in the total critical thinking score means (p <.000) between first generation college students and non-first generation college students. The scores of non-first generation college students are significantly higher than first generation college students. Remediation Status To determine if there is a difference in remediation status on mean critical thinking scores (0-20) an independent samples t-test was conducted between students who took one or more college remediation courses (N = 96, M = 9.44, SD =.24) and students who did not take college remediation courses (N = 343, M = 11.61, SD =.17). The results show a statistically significant difference between the two groups t (437) = 6.107, p <.000. The t value of indicates a statistically significant difference on critical thinking score means (p <.000) for students who took one or more college remediation courses and students that did not take college remediation courses. Students who did not take college remediation courses had significantly higher mean critical thinking scores than students who took one or more college remediation courses. 7

8 Enrollment Status To determine if there is a difference in enrollment status on mean critical thinking scores (0-20) an independent samples t-test was conducted between transfer (N = 166, M = 10.93, SD = 3.10) and native (N = 265, M = 11.24, SD = 3.20) students. There was not a statistically significant difference between the two groups t (429) =.970, p =.332. These results do not indicate a significant difference in mean critical thinking scores between transfer and native students. Class Status A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted to compare mean critical thinking scores (0-20) across class status (freshmen, sophomore, junior, senior). There was homogeneity of variances, as assessed by Levene s test of homogeneity of variance (p=.360). The results show that critical thinking score means are significantly different across class status groups, F (3, 435) = 3.908, p =.009, partial η 2 =.03. Post-hoc comparisons further show that senior (M = 11.65, SD = 3.21) students scored significantly higher than junior (M = 10.56, SD = 3.19) students (p =.009). Table 4. Class Status Means and Standard Deviations on Total Critical Thinking Scores Class Status N M SD Freshmen Sophomores Juniors Seniors College A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted to compare mean critical thinking scores (0-20) across eight colleges (College of Agriculture, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, College of Business, College of Communication and Education, College of Engineering Computer Science and Construction Management, College of Humanities and Fine Arts, College of Natural Sciences, and Undergraduate Education). There was homogeneity of variances, as assessed by Levene s test of homogeneity of variance (p=.867). Mean critical thinking scores were not significantly different across colleges groups, F (7, 431) = 1.856, p =.075, partial η 2 =.03. These results do not indicate a significant difference in mean critical thinking scores between eight colleges. Table 5. College Means and Standard Deviations on Total Critical Thinking Scores College N M SD Agriculture Behavioral & Social Science Business Communication & Education Engineering Computer Science & Construction Management Humanities & Fine Arts Natural Sciences Undergraduate Education

9 Ethnicity A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted to compare mean critical thinking scores (0-20) across ethnic groups (American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian, Black/African American, Decline to State, Hispanic/Latino, Nonresident Aliens, Two or More Races/Ethnicities, White). There was homogeneity of variances, as assessed by Levene s test of homogeneity of variance (p=.801). The results show that critical thinking score means are significantly different across ethnic groups, F (7, 431) = 5.784, p <.000, partial η 2 =.09. Post-hoc comparisons further show that White (M = 11.78, SD = 3.01, p <.000), Two or more Races/Ethnicities (M = 11.12, SD = 3.29, p =.021), Hispanic/Latino (M = 10.50, SD = 3.22, p =.017), and Decline to State (M = 11.63, SD = 3.22, p <.000) students scored significantly higher than Asian (M = 8.31, SD = 2.83) students. Post-hoc comparisons further show that White (M = 11.78, SD = 3.01) students scored significantly higher (p =.009) than Hispanic/Latino students (M = 10.50, SD = 3.22). Table 6. Ethnic Group Means and Standard Deviations on Total Critical Thinking Scores Ethnic Group N M SD American Indian/Alaskan Native Asian Black/African American Decline to State Hispanic/Latino Nonresident Aliens Two or more Ethnicities/Races White Conclusions General Assessment of Critical Thinking remains elusive due to a lack of consensus on its meaning and the difficulty of measuring a complex cognitive phenomenon like CT with available methods. Faculty are generally not enthusiastic participants in assessment and seemed particularly reluctant to engage in assessment of CT. Multiple methods present clear advantages over any one approach to CT given the measurement challenges. Assessing CT using signature assignments requires a more explicit commitment to linking pedagogy and assessment than is currently the case on our campus. Faculty assignments are apparently designed to fulfill a number of instructor objectives. Signature assignments require explicit linkage of the design of assignments to particular outcomes being assessed, in this case CT. 9

10 The use of a multiple choice quiz for assessing CT strikes many as inadequate as the questions lack context, are not linked explicitly to course material and have to be answered without the opportunity for much reflection or any dialog with others. The use of a multiple choice quiz does, however, isolate quality of thinking from quality of writing. Assessing the validity of the CT Quiz is challenging. The lack of nationally normed results vitiates the interpretation of results in the current instance. The two different assessments involved somewhat different interpretations of critical thinking ; the writing assignment focused on students ability to make strong written arguments and draw conclusions based on evidence, while recognizing other conditions and issues that may impact their conclusions. The multiple-choice quiz was more directly focused on using proper logic and reasoning to form sound conclusions. While these two styles of measuring critical thinking aren t necessarily mutually exclusive, there should be no surprise if the different data sets led to different results. Based on the Writing Assignments The ability of our upper class students (juniors/seniors) to correctly use their critical thinking skills to make written arguments is wide-ranging but, on average, adequate (based on their mean scores). However, that ability does not significantly improve as the students move through their studies. Interestingly, students who took one or more remedial courses in college had a higher average score on their writing assignments. This difference was statistically significant at the 95% confidence level. It could be explained by students in remedial courses (if it s remedial ENGL) having done more writing in small class settings. (If they took remedial MATH and not ENGL that explanation doesn t make sense) No significant differences in students abilities to use their critical thinking skills to make written arguments were found based on students gender, transfer status, college of study, or ethnicity. Based on the Multiple Choice Critical Thinking Quiz There was a significant drop in the average scores in students results in the Spring 2016 quiz (55.6%) vs. the combined results of students in the Fall 2012/13 quizzes (66.1%). Note: the Spring 2016 quiz was 20 questions, comprised of 9 of the questions from the Fall 2012 quiz and 11 of the questions from the Fall 2013 quiz. The Fall 2012 and 2013 quizzes were administered to students near the end of their A3 course (primarily PHIL 102), where much direct attention is given to analyzing the types of arguments present in the CT quiz. The enrollment in PHIL 102 consists of 75% freshman and 20% sophomores (data from Sections 1, 2, and 3 of PHIL 102 in F13). The Spring 2016 quiz was given to students in upper-division GE courses, which primarily (77%) consisted of juniors and seniors. Most of these upper-division students would have been several years removed from PHIL 102; it stands to reason that their ability to answer questions based on systematic use of logic and reasoning had faded. Perhaps this indicates a need to 10

11 reinforce the particulars of logic and reasoning in courses beyond A3, if the campus deems developing that ability to be worthwhile. The quiz results also had the highest score among the freshman. While the number of freshman tested was small (6.6% of the sample), there was a statistically significant difference in their score compared to the juniors (at the 95% CL). This again reinforces the conclusion that, having more recently completed PHIL 102, they are better at answering questions involving analyzing logical and illogical reasoning than those further removed from that class. Scores were lower for sophomores and lower still for juniors, but improved significantly in seniors. This may indicate that some further instruction in logic and reasoning is taking place in senior classes or that the ability to properly use logic and reasoning is being indirectly reinforced in those classes. Based on the data in Table 6, scores for Asian and Hispanic/Latino students were significant lower than those for other ethnic groups. Because this quiz involved interpretation of nuanced language which must be read very precisely, the lower scores could be explained in part by some of the Asian and Hispanic/Latino students not having English as their primary language. There were no differences in scores based on transfer status or college of study. There was a statistically significant difference in scores based on these categories: o Male students scored 4% higher than female students. o Non-first-generation students scored 6% higher than first-generation students. o Students who did not take remedial courses scored 11% higher than students who did take remedial courses. The results of the assessments carried out in AY point to the need for more explicit consideration of critical thinking in the curriculum and pedagogical approaches designed specifically to strengthen and reinforce critical thinking and elicit its practice in a variety of assignments across the curriculum throughout students careers. A further recommendation based on the results of this assessment was to share with faculty teaching GE courses the list of their courses SLO s, the definitions of those SLO s, and, where available, rubrics for them to consider with designing assignments meant to assess their students competencies in those SLO s. 11

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