Georgia Military College will provide an atmosphere where students will improve their ability to think critically.
What is the plan to reach the goal and outcomes? How will the student-learning outcomes be measured?
PER 101 will be a course that introduces incoming freshman students to metacognition and the five reasoning skills (induction, deduction, inference, analysis, and evaluation). Students in this course will take a metacognition pretest and a critical thinking pretest to assess their understanding of these skills upon entering GMC.
Twelve core 100-level courses will be enhanced with critical thinking lessons/activities that cover at least one of the five reasoning skills. Understanding and application of critical thinking will be measured over these assignments using the AAC&U critical thinking VALUE rubric.
PER 201 will be a capstone course that is taken after completion of PER 101, PLS 101, and ENG 102. The curriculum will focus on critical thinking, metacognition, and the five reasoning skills. Students in this course will take a metacognition posttest, critical thinking posttest, and the Test of Everyday Reasoning (TER). The posttests will show how the students’ critical thinking and metacognitive skills improved over their first year at GMC, while the TER will show how GMC students’ critical thinking skills compare to national data.
How can staff and administrators assist in the QEP initiative?
Be aware of our plan and what the students need to know. Understand the 5 reasoning skills and what they mean, metacognition, and our definition of critical thinking.
5 Reasoning Skills
Analysis - identify assumptions, reasons and claims, and examine how they interact in the formation of arguments. Individuals use analytics to gather information from charts, graphs, diagrams, spoken language and documents. People with strong analytical skills attend to patterns and to details. They identify the elements of a situation and determine how those parts interact. Strong interpretations skills can support high quality analysis by providing insights into the significance of what a person is saying or what something means.
Inference - draw conclusions from reasons and evidence. Inference is used when someone offers thoughtful suggestions and hypothesis. Inference skills indicate the necessary or the very probable consequences of a given set of facts and conditions. Conclusions, hypotheses, recommendations or decisions that are based on faulty analysis, misinformation, bad data or biased evaluations can turn out to be mistaken, even if they have reached using excellent inference skills.
Evaluation - assess the credibility of sources of information and the claims they make, and determine the strength and weakness or arguments. Applying evaluation skills can judge the quality of analysis, interpretations, explanations, inferences, options, opinions, beliefs, ideas, proposals, and decisions. Strong explanation skills can support high quality evaluation by providing evidence, reasons, methods, criteria, or assumptions behind the claims made and the conclusions reached.
Deduction - decision making in precisely defined contexts where rules, operating conditions, core beliefs, values, policies, principles, procedures and terminology completely determine the outcome. Deductive reasoning moves with exacting precision from the assumed truth of a set of beliefs to a conclusion which cannot be false if those beliefs are untrue. Deductive validity is rigorously logical and clear-cut. Deductive validity leaves no room for uncertainty, unless one alters the meanings of words or the grammar of the language.
Induction - decision making in contexts of uncertainty. We use inductive reasoning skills when we draw inferences about what we think is probably true based on analogies, case studies, prior experience, statistical analysis, simulations, hypotheticals, and patterns recognized in familiar objects, events, experiences and behaviors. As long as there is the possibility, however remote, that a highly probable conclusion might be mistaken even though the evidence at hand is unchanged, the reasoning is inductive. Although it does not yield certainty, inductive reasoning can provide a confidence basis for solid belief in our conclusions and a reasonable basis for action.
GMC’s Definition of Critical Thinking
Active, self-reflective, and deliberate attempt to utilize cognitive skills to support decision making, problem solving, or mastery of concepts throughout various contexts.
What is Metacognition?
Metacognition: Thinking about your own thinking!
Takes thought and effort, but improves student learning. Metacognition and critical thinking complement each other and are hard to separate when teaching students how to become deliberate critical thinkers. Metacognition may be the first stepping-stone for students walking toward this goal.
See our next guest speaker discuss metacognition HERE.