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Consequential Validity: Using Assessment to Drive Instruction
We don’t know
what they will
need to know.
We do know
they will need
to be skilled in
The purpose of assessment in instruction is improvement. The purpose of assessing instruction for critical thinking is improving the teaching of discipline based thinking (historical, biological, sociological, mathematical thinking…). It is to improve students’ abilities to think their way through content, using disciplined skill in reasoning. The more particular we can be about what we want students to learn about critical thinking, the better can we devise instruction with that particular end in view.
Nothing is more important in this process than our conceptualization of critical thinking. The goal should be a robust concept, one that students can learn to detail and explain, one that makes concrete sense of the target:
Every student in every class at every moment being—INTELLECTUALLY engaged.
Critical thinking is that mode of thinking—about any subject, content, or problem—in which the thinker
improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully analyzing, assessing, and reconstructing it.
Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use.
Critical thinking is the disciplined art of ensuring that you use the best thinking you are capable of in any set of circumstances.
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