To assess student reasoning requires that we focus our attention as teachers on two inter-related dimensions of reasoning. The first dimension consists of the elements of reasoning; the second dimension consists of the universal intellectual standards by which we measure student ability to use, in a skillful way, each of those elements of reasoning.
Elements of Reasoning
We can articulate these elements by paying close attention to what is implicit in the act of figuring anything out by the use of reason. These elements, then — purpose, question at issue, assumptions, inferences, implications, point of view, concepts and evidence — constitute a central focus in the assessment of student thinking.
Standards of Reasoning
When we assess student reasoning, we want to evaluate, in a reasonable, defensible, objective way, not just that students are reasoning, but how well they are reasoning. We will be assessing not just that they are using the elements of reasoning, but the degree to which they are using them well, critically, in accord with appropriate intellectual standards.
To assess a student's response — whether written or oral, in structured discussion of content or in critical response to reading assignments, by how clearly or completely it states a position — is to assess it on the basis of a standard of reasoning. Similarly, assessing student work by how.....
To read the full article, join the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online; you will find this article in the Libraries there.
The Center for Critical Thinking Community Online is the world’s leading online community dedicated to teaching and advancing critical thinking. Featuring the world's largest library of critical thinking articles, videos, and books, as well as learning activities, study groups, and a social media component, this interactive learning platform is essential to anyone dedicated to developing as an effective reasoner in the classroom, in the professions, in business and government, and throughout personal life.