What in critical thinking skills among undergraduate students.

What gets this study into the limelight is the issue of
transferability of critical thinking based on which those English learners who
are wean on these skills in English learning will be bound to manage to
transfer these skills to other fields they major in. Succeeding in boosting
critical thinking skills in English learning will sharpen critical thinking
disposition in other majors as well.  

1.6. Critical Thinking Measures

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     The cognitive
elements of critical thinking and the characteristics of good critical thinkers
from prior research projects have been shown by Paul and Elder. Critical
thinking skills include the Delphi Report, and they were expanded on to address
the current critical thinking needs of students at all levels. Paul and Elder
developed a series of tools entitled “The Thinkers Guides” to teach critical
thinking skills at the post-secondary level.

     Researcher Tim van
Gelder (2005) reports that students must engage in critical thinking rather
than just learning about it, because just learning about it does not increase
these skills. Van Gelder (2005) feels that active deliberate engagement in
critical thinking exercises using argument mapping gives students the
opportunity to become better critical thinkers. Mapping out reasoning through the
use of argument maps allows students to monitor their reasoning, identify
important issues and assumptions and more easily clarify their insights (van
Gelder, 2005). Rationale claims to achieve significant gains in critical
thinking skills among undergraduate students. Rationale uses argument maps that
are computer-generated allowing for an interactive approach that builds and
evaluates students’ arguments. The program provides guidance in developing
arguments, scaffolding, feedback, and motivation to transfer and use critical
thinking skills (van Gelder, 2001).

     Rationale has been
used for undergraduate students who were pre-tested and post- tested using the
California Critical Thinking Skills Test. Test results revealed that students
showed improvement in critical thinking skills by approximately one standard
deviation when compared to other direct methods of teaching critical thinking
skills (van Gelder, 2001).

1.7. Impact of Poor Critical Thinking

     Life presents a
host of challenges for most people. The decisions one makes about education,
career, family, short and long term goals are all impacted by the critical
thinking skills available to make those decisions. The ability to function in a
community, society, and as a citizen is also impacted by critical thinking
skills. Inadequate or faulty critical thinking may result in unexpected
challenges in life.

     Research reveals
that institutions and universities are failing in their efforts to equip
students with the necessary critical thinking skills. Therefore, it is no
surprise that the retention of students at the post-secondary level and
institutes is an ongoing challenge. As an example, the I.L.I institute
nationwide, including the Isfahan Branches has large numbers of students each
year who repeat courses multiple times, despite content course tutoring,
perfect methodology, a good number of hours and more importantly qualified

     Students often
fail to meet the I.L.I requirements to pass the final exams. Many students are
forced to repeat a course two or even more times and they fail to finish
different language levels due to poor performance that may be partly based on
deficient critical thinking skills. Content-course tutoring alone does not
appear to decrease the number of repeat courses per term. Language learners may
be particularly at risk if they are supposed to take a rather demanding
language test with poor critical thinking skills.


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