How do we know when our learners are thinking critically? Critical thinking assessment can be tricky to perform because it encompasses such broad skills. However, we can begin to assess critical thinking by breaking it down into more basic components, and then determining criteria you can use with your learners.
These 6 rubrics cover some crucial aspects of critical thinking. The charts are included along with the amazing critical thinking activities we offer in our popular Critical Thinking Teacher's Companion. You'll find specific criteria for each category within the rubrics that will make an initial critical thinking assessment possible.
6 Categories for Critical Thinking Assessment
These rubrics for critical thinking assessment are based on the stages of Bloom’s Taxonomy. They can be used for either teacher or peer assessment. Here are the 6 basic categories we cover:
- Questioning Abilities—This is all about a learner’s capacity for formulating questions and framing relevant inquiries around a problem or challenge. It also refers to their ability to state questions clearly and concisely so as to be easily understood by anyone else.
- Use of Information—Information is everywhere today and the amount we have available is growing exponentially. Part of the critical thinking abilities learners need involves finding information that is useful and relevant to their needs in school and in life.
- Keeping an Open Mind—It takes many cultures, beliefs and stories to make a world. There are also many possible answers to the questions we face every day in life. Critical thinkers remain open at all times to the multiple possibilities within their environments.
- Drawing Conclusions—When we draw conclusions, we see the true purpose of an information quest come to its fruition. It gives us an opportunity to clarify whether or not our question was answered or our challenge was met. It is also the recognition of new learning.
- Communication & Collaboration—The classrooms and workforces of today and of the future are places of teamwork and trust. Learning how to build connections and manage a role in a collaborative group is an essential modern learner skill. Such skills are life skills.
- Self Awareness—By far, one of the most important aspects of being able to think critically is based in self-awareness. It’s knowing potential without any expectation, limits without judging, and ability without arrogance. In short, it is mastery of the self.
It's important to note that critical thinking assessment isn't exact. As such, there are many other factors to take into account beyond what's presented in these rubrics. What we want to provide for you here is a starting point for contemplating how critical thinking assessment can be approached.
These charts will provide a good baseline to work with. Beyond this, feel free to expand on their concepts as you develop different assessment strategies for different learners.