Holistic Critical Thinking
Scoring Rubric


This Holistic Critical Thinking Scoring Rubric assessment device can be used in conjunction with objective tests to provide multiple measures of critical thinking performance. As with all assessment devices reliability of measure is of great importance. Care should be taken to assure interrater reliability in the ratings being generated by faculty using the rubric to assess student groups.

Holistic Critical Thinking Scoring Rubric

by Facione & Facione


4

Consistently does all or almost all of the following:
Accurately interprets evidence, statements, graphics, questions, etc. Identifies the salient arguments (reasons and claims) pro and con. Thoughtfully analyzes and evaluates major alternative points of view. Draws warranted, judicious, non-fallacious conclusions. Justifies key results and procedures, explains assumptions and reasons. Fair-mindedly follows where evidence and reasons lead.


3

Does most or many of the following:
Accurately interprets evidence, statements, graphics, questions, etc. Identifies relevant arguments (reasons and claims) pro and con. Offers analyses and evaluations of obvious alternative points of view. Draws warranted, non-fallacious conclusions. Justifies some results or procedures, explains reasons. Fair-mindedly follows where evidence and reasons lead.


2

Does most or many of the following:
Misinterprets evidence, statements, graphics, questions, etc. Fails to identify strong, relevant counter-arguments. Ignores or superficially evaluates obvious alternative points of view. Draws unwarranted or fallacious conclusions. Justifies few results or procedures, seldom explains reasons. Regardless of the evidence or reasons, maintains or defends views based on self-interest or preconceptions.


1

Consistently does all or almost all of the following:
Offers biased interpretations of evidence, statements, graphics, questions, information, or the points of view of others. Fails to identify or hastily dismisses strong, relevant counter-arguments. Ignores or superficially evaluates obvious alternative points of view. Argues using fallacious or irrelevant reasons, and unwarranted claims. Does not justify results or procedures, nor explain reasons. Regardless of the evidence or reasons, maintains or defends views based on self-interest or preconceptions. Exhibits close-mindedness or hostility to reason.

Instructions for Using the Holistic
Critical Thinking Scoring Rubric

1. Understand the construct.

    This four level rubric treats critical thinking as a set of cognitive skills supported by certain personal dispositions. To reach a judicious, purposive judgment a good critical thinker engages in analysis, interpretation, evaluation, inference, explanation, and meta-cognitive self-regulation. The disposition to pursue fair-mindedly and open-mindedly the reasons and evidence wherever they lead is crucial to reaching sound, objective decisions and resolutions to complex, ill-structured problems. So are the other critical thinking dispositions, such as systematicity, reasoning self-confidence, cognitive maturity, analyticity, and inquisitiveness. [For details on the articulation of this concept refer to Critical Thinking: A Statement of Expert Consensus for Purposes of Educational Assessment and Instruction. ERIC Document Number: ED 315 423.]

2. Differentiate and Focus

    Holistic scoring requires focus. In any essay, presentation, or clinical practice setting many elements must come together for overall success: critical thinking, content knowledge, and technical skill (craftsmanship). Deficits or strengths in any of these can draw the attention of the rater. However, in scoring for any one of the three, one must attempt to focus the evaluation on that element to the exclusion of the other two.

    • Ideally, in a training session with other raters one will examine sample essays (videotaped presentations, etc.) which are paradigmatic of each of the four levels. Without prior knowledge of their level, raters will be asked to evaluate and assign ratings to these samples. After comparing these preliminary ratings, collaborative analysis with the other raters and the trainer is used to achieve consistency of expectations among those who will be involved in rating the actual cases. Training, practice, and inter-rater reliability are the keys to a high quality assessment.
    • Usually, two raters will evaluate each essay/assignment/project/performance. If they disagree there are three possible ways that resolution can be achieved: (a) by mutual conversation between the two raters, (b) by using an independent third rater, or (c) by taking the average of the two initial ratings. The averaging strategy is strongly discouraged. Discrepancies between raters of more than one level suggest that detailed conversations about the CT construct and about project expectations are in order. This rubric is a four level scale, half point scoring is inconsistent with its intent and conceptual structure. Further, at this point in its history, the art and science of holistic critical thinking evaluation cannot justify asserting half-level differentiations.
    • If working alone, or without paradigm samples, one can achieve a greater level of internal consistency by not assigning final ratings until a number of essays/projects/performances/assignments have been viewed and given preliminary ratings. Frequently natural clusters or groupings of similar quality soon come to be discernible. At that point one can be more confident in assigning a firmer critical thinking score using this four level rubric. After assigning preliminary ratings, a review of the entire set assures greater internal consistency and fairness in the final ratings.


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