Higher ed must help students improve critical-thinking skills

Critical thinking is one of the top-requested skills employers look for in job applicants, but is higher ed doing enough to help students develop this skill?

Fifty-nine percent of surveyed adults ages 18-31 who attend or attended a college or university say they are very confident in their soft skills, including critical thinking—but that same survey also shows a decrease in that group’s ability to distinguish between false and factual information.

The second annual State of Critical Thinking survey from MindEdge asked respondents to complete a brief quiz requiring them to use digital literacy and critical thinking skills. In 2018, respondents scored lower on every question compared to 2017, and 52 percent of last year’s respondents received a failing grade.…Read More

#6: 7 alarming problems with students’ critical thinking

[Editor’s note: This story, originally published on May 31st of this year, was our #6 most popular story of the year. Happy holidays, and thank you for tuning into our 2018 countdown!]

Critical thinking is one of the top-requested skills employers look for in job applicants, but are colleges and universities doing enough to help students develop this skill?

Fifty-nine percent of surveyed adults ages 18-31 who attend or attended a college or university say they are very confident in their soft skills, including critical thinking—but that same survey also shows a decrease in that group’s ability to distinguish between false and factual information.…Read More

7 alarming problems with students’ critical thinking

Critical thinking is one of the top-requested skills employers look for in job applicants, but are colleges and universities doing enough to help students develop this skill?

Fifty-nine percent of surveyed adults ages 18-31 who attend or attended a college or university say they are very confident in their soft skills, including critical thinking—but that same survey also shows a decrease in that group’s ability to distinguish between false and factual information.

The second annual State of Critical Thinking survey from MindEdge asks respondents to complete a brief quiz requiring them to use digital literacy and critical thinking skills. In 2018, respondents scored lower on every question compared to 2017, and 52 percent of this year’s respondents received a failing grade.…Read More

New test measures students’ digital literacy

Certiport's new iCritical Thinking Certification helps higher education instructors gauge students' abilities.
Certiport's new certification exam helps instructors gauge students' 21st-century skills.

Employers are looking for candidates who can navigate, critically evaluate, and make sense of the wealth of information available through digital media—and now educators have a new way to determine a student’s baseline digital literacy with a certification exam that measures the test-taker’s ability to assess information, think critically, and perform a range of real-world tasks.

The test, iCritical Thinking Certification, created by the Educational Testing Service and Certiport, reveals whether or not a person is able to combine technical skills with experiences and knowledge.

Today’s students need to be able to think critically and effectively solve problems while using technology, Certiport explains—going beyond simply searching for information. They also must evaluate the legitimacy of the information, put it in context, and then apply problem-solving and decision-making skills.…Read More

Three-fourths of professionals believe the internet makes us smarter

A survey of web users and professionals found that a majority of them believe the internet is making us smarter, InformationWeek reports—although some critics believe internet use is zapping our critical thinking skills. The web-based survey of nearly 900 prominent scientists, business leaders, consultants, writers, and technology developers found that three out of four believe the internet “enhances and augments” human intelligence. In addition, two-thirds of the respondents said the internet also improves reading, writing, and rendering of knowledge. The survey was conducted by the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon University in North Carolina and the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. The poll was motivated by tech scholar and analyst Nicholas Carr’s 2009 Atlantic Monthly magazine cover story, entitled “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” In a response to the survey, Carr stuck by his original argument that the internet shifts the emphasis of people’s intelligence away from meditative or contemplative intelligence and more toward what he called “utilitarian intelligence.” “The price of zipping among lots of bits of information is a loss of depth in our thinking,” said Carr, who participated in the survey. Other participants disagreed, such as Craig Newmark, founder of Craigs’s List, who said people use Google as an adjunct to their own memory. Respondent David Ellis, a professor at York University in Toronto, said that instead of making people stupid, Google was reinforcing intellectual laziness among people satisfied with the top 10 or 15 listings from search queries…

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