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Elements of Critical Thinking Assessment at George Mason University

These elements were developed by a faculty work group and are used to assess Critical Thinking for undergraduate students. Additional
information on Critical Thinking at George Mason is on the Critical Thinking across the Curriculum (CTAC) web site
Elements Highly Competent Competent Needs Improvement Not Competent
1. Problem/Issue
Identification Clearly identified, explicit Identified implicitly or Problems/Issues present, Problem/issue ambiguous/not
incompletely described but a little ambiguous present
Assumptions Clearly identified and Clear identification, Identified, not explained Not identified, not explained
explained somewhat unclear
2. Analysis of
Method(s) Selected & used Some inappropriate Choice/use of method Completely inappropriate choice
appropriately choice/use of method(s) needs improvement and use of method(s)
Alternate Points of view Thoroughly considered Thoroughly considered Some attention to at least Obvious alternate views ignored
multiple alternate points attention to one alternate one alternate view
of view view
3. Credibility of
Resources/Source Material
Resources/Source material All are appropriate & Most resources/ sources Some resources/sources No relevant, appropriate, credible
relevant (number, relevant, appropriate, are not relevant, resources/ sources
content, credibility) credible appropriate, credible
4. Conclusion/Problem Solution
Limitations Thoroughly considered Given some attention Limitations mention very Limitations ignored
Integration Ideas well integrated into Ideas integrated into a Some connections Ideas lack connection or coherence
a coherent argument, somewhat coherent piece among a few ideas are
solution, presentation made
Conclusions/Solution(s) Conclusions/solutions Most Some unwarranted conclusions/solutions unwarranted;
based on evidence/sound conclusions/solutions conclusions drawn, or maintains preconceived views
methods based on evidence solution errors regardless of evidence/ need for
different solution
5. Creativity
Creativity Reflecting in-depth Reflects some in depth Primarily based on No evidence of engagement /new
student engagement with consideration of topic; collection & repetition of ideas on topic; work simply a re-
the topic; fresh ideas some new insights other people’s ideas, hash of other people’s ideas
products, images; very
few new insights
6. Communication
with/Adaptation to Audience
Communication/Adaptation Highly evident Evident most of the time Few small considerations No communication/ adaptation to
of communication and/or audience

Last revision 1/29/2009 Office of Institutional Assessment-