Critical Thinking And Communication The Use Of Reason In Argument

Critical Thinking And Communication The Use Of Reason In Argument-64
Given the common requirement to indicate critical thinking skills and dispositions on a mechanically test of about 50 minutes in length, there are restrictions.

Given the common requirement to indicate critical thinking skills and dispositions on a mechanically test of about 50 minutes in length, there are restrictions.

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There are many other requirements; these alone suggest that such tests will If certain sorts of questions need to be removed, more issues will arise about the scope of the tests.

How would those working on argumentation studies, critical thinking, and test development today respond to such concerns?

We cannot in such a context test for abilities to elucidate judicious value judgments about sensitive topics, to find underlying metaphysical or social assumptions, or identify mechanical or aesthetic flaws not easily characterized in words.

Nor can we handle material incorporating and exploiting subtle nuances of meaning.

If students test higher after a course than before it, we would naturally infer that the course has improved their critical thinking skills.

In addition, since we value critical thinking ability, we may wish to test it as a basis for admission to occupations or educational programs.The material used must not be susceptive to a variety of interpretations; interesting figures of speech, irony and sarcasm, and suggestive ambiguities will have to be avoided.Thus tests almost always use invented passages rather than real ones.The concept of critical thinking is a broad and contestable one.The kind of critical thinking one might do in improving on a play or revising the fundamental assumptions of a social theory is not likely to be elicited on a mechanically scorable 50 minute test.When this chapter was written, I was concerned about social and institutional demands for quickly obtainable quantifiable results that would measure something as fundamental and important as critical thinking skills.I wondered whether there was something rather absurd about the idea that people should be asked to demonstrate, in short and clear order, their capacity to think critically – and also something absurd about the notion that philosophers should engage in constructing tests to do just that.They have to be clear cut and expressible in brief phrases.They cannot presume much background knowledge about any particular substantive issue unless those to whom the test is to be given can be expected to have uniform knowledge on that matter – a condition which would rarely be met in practice.In teaching there is inevitably some restriction as to what is taken as critical thinking.Restrictions are bound to be greater in the context of a short-answer machine-gradeable test that can be taken in an hour or so.


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