ABSTRACT

The importance of improving student critical thinking skills is widely recognized; however, actually improving student critical thinking skills requires intentionality on the part of an institution. This study examined the pre- to post-test gains in student critical thinking skills within an undergraduate, general education, critical thinking course from 2012 to 2017. Parametric, dependent samples t-tests revealed students made statistically significant gains in critical thinking scores each year. Meaningful critical thinking gains were observed for the 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 academic years and were comparable to those seen for other types of intentional critical thinking interventions identified within the literature. These gains speak to the potential efficacy of this stand-alone critical thinking course; however, lower gains for the 2016 and 2017 academic years indicate a possible loss of course effectiveness over time and demonstrate the value of longitudinal studies in revealing changes in student learning and in intervention effectiveness over time.

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