Critical Thinking and Higher Education

Critical thinking is a thought process that is open-minded, strongly supported by evidence and argumentative. In addition, it is also the ability to solve problems effectively and write argumentatively. I don’t believe that critical thinking can be measured simply because there are different approaches to arguments and different perspectives, and so not everyone will agree with one side. However, I believe that critical thinking can be analyzed based on how well the argument is; if the argument includes a counter argument and acknowledges its opposing side, then it is a well developed argument that utilizes critical thinking very well.

After reading Academically adrift, I have realized that college students are not learning to think critically due to social distractions. College has become a place where “a majority of students chose another path…complete with fraternities, clubs, and social activities…[which was] produced, shaped, and defined by a peer culture orient to nonacademic endeavors” (3). With this in mind, the ability for students to think critically is gradually decreasing because they are not as focused on school work due to outside distractions. Thinking critically is important in the work area and in the real world because there are many situations that people will face and will need to think through it logically, rationally and with evidence. However, this is not achievable if students have a different focus and mindset in college. Some college students even complain of how “[they] hate classes with a lot of reading that is tested on. Any class where a teacher is just gonna give us notes and a worksheet or something like that is better” (4). This statement defines how students have become very much like “robots” in a way because they would rather regurgitate information given to them than look at the readings and develop their own opinions based on factual evidence and reasoning.

Overall, I believe that critical thinking is an important aspect of a college education and cannot truly be measured even if they have tests such as CLA (Collegiate Learning Assessment) because the experience of the students is beyond control and some students may simply not be a good test taker. 


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