Institutional Learning Outcomes
Critical Thinking Rubric
Assignments and assessments that develop critical thinking skills require problem
solving of some kind. This means that the student is required to answer an open-ended
question, make an argument or interpretation, take a position on an issue, make a
reasoned evaluation or a recommendation, produce an original work that satisfies
specific requirements, etc. To help create assignments that prompt critical thinking,
instructors can use the rubric below to plan the specific critical thinking skills
they want their students to perform. Instructors are encouraged to design assignments
that test at least three (3) criteria in each of the four categories below. The rubric
can then be used to assess the student artifact—as Excellent, Good, Minimally Competent,
and Deficient—according to the number of criteria demonstrated divided by the number of
criteria required by the assignment.
- Demonstrates understanding of the terms, concepts, and principles of the subject matter.
- Demonstrates understanding of the assigned material.
- Documents texts and resources appropriately (avoiding plagiarism).
- Communicates in language appropriate to college contexts; or, if appropriate,
communicates effectively in the language (or equivalent means) of the discipline.
- Exhibits insight and independent thinking/original ideas.
- Applies theoretic concepts/schema to varied contexts.
- Uses analytic and inquiry methods appropriate to the discipline.
- Makes a coherent argument or adheres to a controlling idea/thesis.
- Makes/Identifies salient points and arguments, such as pro/con, reasons/claims,
comparison/contrast, cause/effect, etc.
- Organizes information/ideas into
appropriate and coherent patterns.
- Interprets evidence, statements, graphics, questions, etc., in fair/accurate ways.
- Supports stance/position with relevant reasons and ample evidence.
- Asks/Answers important questions.
- Raises/Identifies debatable issues.
- Critiques key questionable assumptions.
- Recognizes ambiguity and, where possible, provides clarity.
- Acknowledges/Clarifies relevant contrary opinions, competing interpretations, or alternative points of view
and, where appropriate, accepts multiplicity (rather than black and white thinking).
- Evaluates validity and credibility of sources and material used for support or as evidence.
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- Addresses an appropriate audience.
- Generates warranted, judicious, non-fallacious conclusions or evaluations.
- Hypothesizes important implications and consequences.
- Synthesizes/Reconciles ideas, opinions, and information from various sources.
- Assesses/Solves a problem within the discipline or posed by the assignment.
- Applies knowledge and skills of the discipline to increased social awareness or self-perception.
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