Critical Thinking: Definitions, Assessments, and Teaching Practices in Higher Education


Despite widespread recognition of its importance, there is a lack of consensus regarding the conceptual definition of “critical thinking” (CT). This literature review paper provides a better understanding of CT skills: focusing on the ways in which CT has been defined, on the ways in which teachers can foster CT in their students through teaching and assessment practices for CT, and on connections between CT and creativity. The paper consists of four sections: (1) Defining CT skills (CT is generally a self-regulated process of reasoning that is defined as an individual making a judgment of conclusions on a special purpose); (2) Teaching and assessing CT skills (creative ways of thinking, as well as CT skills, are “teachable,” though many think these skills as intuitive); (3) Findings from CT studies (in the 21st century, the new and emerging technologies have changed learning from restrictive to flexible, accessible, and innovative approaches; and problem-based learning is a learner-centered, contextualized approach); and (4) Creativity and CT skills (creative thinking can be defined as the entire set of cognitive activities; and creative thinking is generally correlated with CT and with problem solving). And thus, enhancing CT skills promotes the learning process (especially the cognitive processes of learning) which, in turn, promotes teaching students how to think rather than what to think. Equipped with the information from this presentation, educators can apply instruction in CT skills to their institution’s missions as a whole, and provide a more transformative educational experience for their students.

Author Information
Yukiko Inoue-Smith, University of Guam, Guam

Paper Information
Conference: ACP2018
Stream: Psychology and Education

This paper is part of the ACP2018 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon