n South African Journal of Higher Education - Modelling critical thinking through learning-oriented assessment




One of the cornerstones peculiar to the outcomes-based approach adopted by the South African education and training sector is the so-called 'critical outcomes'. Included in one of these outcomes is the ability to think critically. Although this outcome articulates well with the cognitive domain of holistic development, it also gives rise to some concern.

One area of concern deals with cultivating learners' critical thinking skills. Research indicates that these higher order thinking skills are unlikely to develop simply because of maturation and that they are notoriously difficult to teach and learn.
In two independent studies, the Cornell Critical Thinking Test - Level Z and the Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal were administered to gauge the critical thinking abilities of teacher education students. The research results obtained from the two studies will be briefly discussed as evidence that there is a dire need to nurture learners' critical thinking abilities.
The concept learning-oriented assessment (LOA) will be interrogated and it will be indicated how LOA could possibly contribute in developing students' critical thinking skills.


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