Developing Critical Thinking

  • Posted January 10, 2018
  • By Iman Rastegari

Critical Thinking

In a time where deliberately false information is continually introduced into public discourse, and quickly spread through social media shares and likes, it is more important than ever for young people to develop their critical thinking. That skill, says Georgetown professor William T. Gormley, consists of three elements: a capacity to spot weakness in other arguments, a passion for good evidence, and a capacity to reflect on your own views and values with an eye to possibly change them. But are educators making the development of these skills a priority?

"Some teachers embrace critical thinking pedagogy with enthusiasm and they make it a high priority in their classrooms; other teachers do not," says Gormley, author of the recent Harvard Education Press release The Critical Advantage: Developing Critical Thinking Skills in School . "So if you are to assess the extent of critical-thinking instruction in U.S. classrooms, you’d find some very wide variations." Which is unfortunate, he says, since developing critical-thinking skills is vital not only to students' readiness for college and career, but to their civic readiness, as well.

"It's important to recognize that critical thinking is not just something that takes place in the classroom or in the workplace, it's something that takes place — and should take place — in our daily lives," says Gormley.

In this edition of the Harvard EdCast, Gormley looks at the value of teaching critical thinking, and explores how it can be an important solution to some of the problems that we face, including "fake news."

About the Harvard EdCast

The Harvard EdCast is a weekly series of podcasts, available on the Harvard University iT unes U page, that features a 15-20 minute conversation with thought leaders in the field of education from across the country and around the world. Hosted by Matt Weber and co-produced by Jill Anderson, the Harvard EdCast is a space for educational discourse and openness, focusing on the myriad issues and current events related to the field.

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An education podcast that keeps the focus simple: what makes a difference for learners, educators, parents, and communities

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Thinking and Analysis

Critical thinking skills.

Three students leaning over a sheet of butcher block paper, with markers in their hands

The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks. —Christopher Hitchens, author and journalist

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Define critical thinking
  • Describe the role that logic plays in critical thinking
  • Describe how critical thinking skills can be used to problem-solve
  • Describe how critical thinking skills can be used to evaluate information
  • Identify strategies for developing yourself as a critical thinker

Critical Thinking

Thinking comes naturally. You don’t have to make it happen—it just does. But you can make it happen in different ways. For example, you can think positively or negatively. You can think with “heart” and you can think with rational judgment. You can also think strategically and analytically, and mathematically and scientifically. These are a few of multiple ways in which the mind can process thought.

What are some forms of thinking you use? When do you use them, and why?

As a college student, you are tasked with engaging and expanding your thinking skills. One of the most important of these skills is critical thinking. Critical thinking is important because it relates to nearly all tasks, situations, topics, careers, environments, challenges, and opportunities. It’s a “domain-general” thinking skill—not a thinking skill that’s reserved for a one subject alone or restricted to a particular subject area.

Great leaders have highly attuned critical thinking skills, and you can, too. In fact, you probably have a lot of these skills already. Of all your thinking skills, critical thinking may have the greatest value.

What Is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking is clear, reasonable, reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do. It means asking probing questions like, “How do we know?” or “Is this true in every case or just in this instance?” It involves being skeptical and challenging assumptions, rather than simply memorizing facts or blindly accepting what you hear or read.

Imagine, for example, that you’re reading a history textbook. You wonder who wrote it and why, because you detect certain biases in the writing. You find that the author has a limited scope of research focused only on a particular group within a population. In this case, your critical thinking reveals that there are “other sides to the story.”

Who are critical thinkers, and what characteristics do they have in common? Critical thinkers are usually curious and reflective people. They like to explore and probe new areas and seek knowledge, clarification, and new solutions. They ask pertinent questions, evaluate statements and arguments, and they distinguish between facts and opinion. They are also willing to examine their own beliefs, possessing a manner of humility that allows them to admit lack of knowledge or understanding when needed. They are open to changing their mind. Perhaps most of all, they actively enjoy learning, and seeking new knowledge is a lifelong pursuit.

This may well be you!

No matter where you are on the road to being a critical thinker, you can always more fully develop and finely tune your skills. Doing so will help you develop more balanced arguments, express yourself clearly, read critically, and glean important information efficiently. Critical thinking skills will help you in any profession or any circumstance of life, from science to art to business to teaching. With critical thinking, you become a clearer thinker and problem solver.

The following video, from Lawrence Bland, presents the major concepts and benefits of critical thinking.

Activity: Self-Assess Your Critical Thinking Strategies

  • Assess your basic understanding of the skills involved in critical thinking.
  • Visit the Quia Critical Thinking Quiz page and click on Start Now (you don’t need to enter your name). Select the best answer for each question, and then click on Submit Answers. A score of 70 percent or better on this quiz is considering passing.
  • Based on the content of the questions, do you feel you use good critical thinking strategies in college? In what ways might you improve as a critical thinker?

Critical Thinking and Logic

Critical thinking is fundamentally a process of questioning information and data. You may question the information you read in a textbook, or you may question what a politician or a professor or a classmate says. You can also question a commonly-held belief or a new idea. With critical thinking, anything and everything is subject to question and examination for the purpose of logically constructing reasoned perspectives.

What Is Logic, and Why Is It Important in Critical Thinking?

The word logic comes from the Ancient Greek logike , referring to the science or art of reasoning. Using logic, a person evaluates arguments and reasoning and strives to distinguish between good and bad reasoning, or between truth and falsehood. Using logic, you can evaluate ideas or claims people make, make good decisions, and form sound beliefs about the world. [1]

Questions of Logic in Critical Thinking

Let’s use a simple example of applying logic to a critical-thinking situation. In this hypothetical scenario, a man has a PhD in political science, and he works as a professor at a local college. His wife works at the college, too. They have three young children in the local school system, and their family is well known in the community. The man is now running for political office. Are his credentials and experience sufficient for entering public office? Will he be effective in the political office? Some voters might believe that his personal life and current job, on the surface, suggest he will do well in the position, and they will vote for him. In truth, the characteristics described don’t guarantee that the man will do a good job. The information is somewhat irrelevant. What else might you want to know? How about whether the man had already held a political office and done a good job? In this case, we want to ask, How much information is adequate in order to make a decision based on logic instead of assumptions?

The following questions, presented in Figure 1, below, are ones you may apply to formulating a logical, reasoned perspective in the above scenario or any other situation:

  • What’s happening? Gather the basic information and begin to think of questions.
  • Why is it important? Ask yourself why it’s significant and whether or not you agree.
  • What don’t I see? Is there anything important missing?
  • How do I know? Ask yourself where the information came from and how it was constructed.
  • Who is saying it? What’s the position of the speaker and what is influencing them?
  • What else? What if? What other ideas exist and are there other possibilities?

Infographic titled "Questions a Critical Thinker Asks." From the top, text reads: What's Happening? Gather the basic information and begin to think of questions (image of two stick figures talking to each other). Why is it Important? Ask yourself why it's significant and whether or not you agree. (Image of bearded stick figure sitting on a rock.) What Don't I See? Is there anything important missing? (Image of stick figure wearing a blindfold, whistling, walking away from a sign labeled Answers.) How Do I Know? Ask yourself where the information came from and how it was constructed. (Image of stick figure in a lab coat, glasses, holding a beaker.) Who is Saying It? What's the position of the speaker and what is influencing them? (Image of stick figure reading a newspaper.) What Else? What If? What other ideas exist and are there other possibilities? (Stick figure version of Albert Einstein with a thought bubble saying "If only time were relative...".

Problem-Solving with Critical Thinking

For most people, a typical day is filled with critical thinking and problem-solving challenges. In fact, critical thinking and problem-solving go hand-in-hand. They both refer to using knowledge, facts, and data to solve problems effectively. But with problem-solving, you are specifically identifying, selecting, and defending your solution. Below are some examples of using critical thinking to problem-solve:

  • Your roommate was upset and said some unkind words to you, which put a crimp in the relationship. You try to see through the angry behaviors to determine how you might best support the roommate and help bring the relationship back to a comfortable spot.
  • Your campus club has been languishing on account of lack of participation and funds. The new club president, though, is a marketing major and has identified some strategies to interest students in joining and supporting the club. Implementation is forthcoming.
  • Your final art class project challenges you to conceptualize form in new ways. On the last day of class when students present their projects, you describe the techniques you used to fulfill the assignment. You explain why and how you selected that approach.
  • Your math teacher sees that the class is not quite grasping a concept. She uses clever questioning to dispel anxiety and guide you to new understanding of the concept.
  • You have a job interview for a position that you feel you are only partially qualified for, although you really want the job and you are excited about the prospects. You analyze how you will explain your skills and experiences in a way to show that you are a good match for the prospective employer.
  • You are doing well in college, and most of your college and living expenses are covered. But there are some gaps between what you want and what you feel you can afford. You analyze your income, savings, and budget to better calculate what you will need to stay in college and maintain your desired level of spending.

Problem-Solving Action Checklist

Problem-solving can be an efficient and rewarding process, especially if you are organized and mindful of critical steps and strategies. Remember, too, to assume the attributes of a good critical thinker. If you are curious, reflective, knowledge-seeking, open to change, probing, organized, and ethical, your challenge or problem will be less of a hurdle, and you’ll be in a good position to find intelligent solutions.

Evaluating Information with Critical Thinking

Evaluating information can be one of the most complex tasks you will be faced with in college. But if you utilize the following four strategies, you will be well on your way to success:

  • Read for understanding by using text coding
  • Examine arguments
  • Clarify thinking
  • Cultivate “habits of mind”

Read for Understanding Using Text Coding

When you read and take notes, use the text coding strategy . Text coding is a way of tracking your thinking while reading. It entails marking the text and recording what you are thinking either in the margins or perhaps on Post-it notes. As you make connections and ask questions in response to what you read,  you monitor your comprehension and enhance your long-term understanding of the material.

With text coding, mark important arguments and key facts. Indicate where you agree and disagree or have further questions. You don’t necessarily need to read every word, but make sure you understand the concepts or the intentions behind what is written. Feel free to develop your own shorthand style when reading or taking notes. The following are a few options to consider using while coding text.

See more text coding from PBWorks and Collaborative for Teaching and Learning .

Examine Arguments

When you examine arguments or claims that an author, speaker, or other source is making, your goal is to identify and examine the hard facts. You can use the spectrum of authority strategy for this purpose. The spectrum of authority strategy assists you in identifying the “hot” end of an argument—feelings, beliefs, cultural influences, and societal influences—and the “cold” end of an argument—scientific influences. The following video explains this strategy.

Clarify Thinking

When you use critical thinking to evaluate information, you need to clarify your thinking to yourself and likely to others. Doing this well is mainly a process of asking and answering probing questions, such as the logic questions discussed earlier. Design your questions to fit your needs, but be sure to cover adequate ground. What is the purpose? What question are we trying to answer? What point of view is being expressed? What assumptions are we or others making? What are the facts and data we know, and how do we know them? What are the concepts we’re working with? What are the conclusions, and do they make sense? What are the implications?

Cultivate “Habits of Mind”

“Habits of mind” are the personal commitments, values, and standards you have about the principle of good thinking. Consider your intellectual commitments, values, and standards. Do you approach problems with an open mind, a respect for truth, and an inquiring attitude? Some good habits to have when thinking critically are being receptive to having your opinions changed, having respect for others, being independent and not accepting something is true until you’ve had the time to examine the available evidence, being fair-minded, having respect for a reason, having an inquiring mind, not making assumptions, and always, especially, questioning your own conclusions—in other words, developing an intellectual work ethic. Try to work these qualities into your daily life.

Developing Yourself As a Critical Thinker

Photo of a group of students standing around a poster on the wall, where they're adding post-it notes with handwriting on them

Critical thinking is a desire to seek, patience to doubt, fondness to meditate, slowness to assert, readiness to consider, carefulness to dispose and set in order; and hatred for every kind of imposture. —Francis Bacon, philosopher

Critical thinking is a fundamental skill for college students, but it should also be a lifelong pursuit. Below are additional strategies to develop yourself as a critical thinker in college and in everyday life:

  • Reflect and practice : Always reflect on what you’ve learned. Is it true all the time? How did you arrive at your conclusions?
  • Use wasted time : It’s certainly important to make time for relaxing, but if you find you are indulging in too much of a good thing, think about using your time more constructively. Determine when you do your best thinking and try to learn something new during that part of the day.
  • Redefine the way you see things : It can be very uninteresting to always think the same way. Challenge yourself to see familiar things in new ways. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes and consider things from a different angle or perspective.  If you’re trying to solve a problem, list all your concerns: what you need in order to solve it, who can help, what some possible barriers might be, etc. It’s often possible to reframe a problem as an opportunity. Try to find a solution where there seems to be none.
  • Analyze the influences on your thinking and in your life : Why do you think or feel the way you do? Analyze your influences. Think about who in your life influences you. Do you feel or react a certain way because of social convention, or because you believe it is what is expected of you? Try to break out of any molds that may be constricting you.
  • Express yourself : Critical thinking also involves being able to express yourself clearly. Most important in expressing yourself clearly is stating one point at a time. You might be inclined to argue every thought, but you might have greater impact if you focus just on your main arguments. This will help others to follow your thinking clearly. For more abstract ideas, assume that your audience may not understand. Provide examples, analogies, or metaphors where you can.
  • Enhance your wellness : It’s easier to think critically when you take care of your mental and physical health. Try taking 10-minute activity breaks to reach 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity each day . Try taking a break between classes and walk to the coffee shop that’s farthest away. Scheduling physical activity into your day can help lower stress and increase mental alertness. Also, do your most difficult work when you have the most energy . Think about the time of day you are most effective and have the most energy. Plan to do your most difficult work during these times. And be sure to reach out for help . If you feel you need assistance with your mental or physical health, talk to a counselor or visit a doctor.

Activity: Reflect on Critical Thinking

  • Apply critical thinking strategies to your life

Directions:

  • Think about someone you consider to be a critical thinker (friend, professor, historical figure, etc). What qualities does he/she have?
  • Review some of the critical thinking strategies discussed on this page. Pick one strategy that makes sense to you. How can you apply this critical thinking technique to your academic work?
  • Habits of mind are attitudes and beliefs that influence how you approach the world (i.e., inquiring attitude, open mind, respect for truth, etc). What is one habit of mind you would like to actively develop over the next year? How will you develop a daily practice to cultivate this habit?
  • Write your responses in journal form, and submit according to your instructor’s guidelines.

The following text is an excerpt from an essay by Dr. Andrew Robert Baker, “Thinking Critically and Creatively.” In these paragraphs, Dr. Baker underscores the importance of critical thinking—the imperative of critical thinking, really—to improving as students, teachers, and researchers. The follow-up portion of this essay appears in the Creative Thinking section of this course.

Thinking Critically and Creatively

Critical thinking skills are perhaps the most fundamental skills involved in making judgments and solving problems. You use them every day, and you can continue improving them.

The ability to think critically about a matter—to analyze a question, situation, or problem down to its most basic parts—is what helps us evaluate the accuracy and truthfulness of statements, claims, and information we read and hear. It is the sharp knife that, when honed, separates fact from fiction, honesty from lies, and the accurate from the misleading. We all use this skill to one degree or another almost every day. For example, we use critical thinking every day as we consider the latest consumer products and why one particular product is the best among its peers. Is it a quality product because a celebrity endorses it? Because a lot of other people may have used it? Because it is made by one company versus another? Or perhaps because it is made in one country or another? These are questions representative of critical thinking.

The academic setting demands more of us in terms of critical thinking than everyday life. It demands that we evaluate information and analyze myriad issues. It is the environment where our critical thinking skills can be the difference between success and failure. In this environment we must consider information in an analytical, critical manner. We must ask questions—What is the source of this information? Is this source an expert one and what makes it so? Are there multiple perspectives to consider on an issue? Do multiple sources agree or disagree on an issue? Does quality research substantiate information or opinion? Do I have any personal biases that may affect my consideration of this information?

It is only through purposeful, frequent, intentional questioning such as this that we can sharpen our critical thinking skills and improve as students, learners and researchers.

—Dr. Andrew Robert Baker,  Foundations of Academic Success: Words of Wisdom

Resources for Critical Thinking

  • Glossary of Critical Thinking Terms
  • Critical Thinking Self-Assessment
  • Logical Fallacies Jeopardy Template
  • Fallacies Files—Home
  • Thinking Critically | Learning Commons
  • Foundation for Critical Thinking
  • To Analyze Thinking We Must Identify and Question Its Elemental Structures
  • Critical Thinking in Everyday Life
  • "logike." Wordnik. n.d. Web. 16 Feb 2016. ↵
  • "Student Success-Thinking Critically In Class and Online."  Critical Thinking Gateway . St Petersburg College, n.d. Web. 16 Feb 2016. ↵
  • Critical Thinking Skills. Authored by : Linda Bruce. Provided by : Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Image of three students. Authored by : PopTech. Located at : https://flic.kr/p/8tXtQp . License : CC BY-SA: Attribution-ShareAlike
  • Critical Thinking. Provided by : Critical and Creative Thinking Program. Located at : http://cct.wikispaces.umb.edu/Critical+Thinking . License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Thinking Critically. Authored by : UBC Learning Commons. Provided by : The University of British Columbia, Vancouver Campus. Located at : http://www.oercommons.org/courses/learning-toolkit-critical-thinking/view . License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Critical Thinking 101: Spectrum of Authority. Authored by : UBC Leap. Located at : https://youtu.be/9G5xooMN2_c . License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Image of students putting post-its on wall. Authored by : Hector Alejandro. Located at : https://flic.kr/p/7b2Ax2 . License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Foundations of Academic Success. Authored by : Thomas C. Priester, editor. Provided by : Open SUNY Textbooks. Located at : http://textbooks.opensuny.org/foundations-of-academic-success/ . License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
  • Critical Thinking.wmv. Authored by : Lawrence Bland. Located at : https://youtu.be/WiSklIGUblo . License : All Rights Reserved . License Terms : Standard YouTube License
  • Our Mission

6 Strategies to Make Your Students College Ready

Trinidad Garza Early College High School uses six key instructional strategies to prepare students for higher education.

Video: Trinidad Garza Instructional Coach, Donna Engelhart, explains the history of the Common Instructional Framework. (00:34)

Students are more engaged in their learning when they have ownership over it, and they take ownership when they're given the opportunity to discover the answers themselves. This is the premise that the Common Instructional Framework (PDF) -- created by Jobs for the Future -- is built on: When you let students take charge of their learning, they succeed.

Trinidad Garza Early College High School uses the six strategies from the Common Instructional Framework: collaborative group work, literacy groups, scaffolding, writing to learn, questioning, and classroom talk.

"This framework was designed specifically for Early College high schools -- which serve low-income and minority students -- as a way to quickly raise the students' proficiency and college readiness," explains Donna Engelhart, a Trinidad Garza instructional coach.

Compared to a 41% high school graduation rate in their zip code, 100% of Trinidad Garza students graduate. Trinidad Garza's students -- about 87% Hispanic, 13% black, 84% free/reduced lunch, and 27% English-language learners -- are exceeding national and local expectations.

How It's Done

Provide an instructional framework for every teacher.

Video: Trinidad Garza World History teacher, Jeannie Adams, describes how the Common Instructional Framework acts as a guide for planning lessons. (00:24)

Trinidad Garza uses all six instructional strategies in every classroom and in both core and elective curriculum. If you walk through the classrooms, you'll see collaborative groups in chemistry, Spanish, and English. You'll witness writing to learn in science, literacy groups in math, and questioning in world history.

"What the Common Instructional Framework has done for teachers is given them a framework so that they can strategize with other teachers about content, interventions, and student success," explains Dr. Janice Lombardi, Trinidad Garza's principal. 

Provide a Common Language for Student Learning

The Common Instructional Framework gives both teachers and students recurrent tools, expectations, and a common language across all classes. "Students become familiar with the rules of engagement in small groups,” says Lombardi. “They become familiar with the expectations of writing to learn. They know that it's OK to not know something immediately and to ask questions.” By having every teacher model these strategies, students internalize them over time, building a toolkit of innate skills that they can call upon throughout their high school, college, and post-collegiate lives.

These Strategies Work Together

These strategies often overlap. "For example, collaborative group work combines several strategies: writing to learn, classroom talk, questioning, and it may combine literacy groups," explains Engelhart. The scaffolding at Trinidad Garza often includes writing to learn, classroom talk, and collaborative group work. Some of these strategies can be used by themselves -- like writing to learn -- but most of them build upon each other.

Scaffolding: Building on Prior Knowledge

Scaffolding builds upon what students already know -- either academic knowledge or something from their life -- using their base knowledge as a reference point to help them understand a new concept or skill.

In a Trinidad Garza English classroom, students were having difficulties grasping how to write a persuasive essay, recalls Engelhart. Their teacher told them, "Pretend that you're talking to your parents, and you're trying to convince them into allowing you to do something you're not allowed to do. What would you say?"

First, the students talked among each other about what they would say. "My goodness, the class went wild; they loved that," remembers Englehart. Next, each student wrote down points of evidence that they would share with their parents to support their argument.

Most teenagers argue with their parents. Knowing this, their teacher drew on an experience common to her students that utilized the same skills she wanted them to practice -- providing evidence to support an argument.

"There you have it," she told them. "You have done exactly the process I'm going to ask you to do. I'm going to ask you to do it for a different question, but now you understand the process."

"That was beautiful scaffolding, calling upon something that's an everyday part of their life and using that to translate what we need to do academically," says Englehart.

With practice, students begin to self-scaffold by consciously calling upon their prior knowledge and experiences.

Writing to Learn: Developing Critical Thinking Skills

Video: Trinidad Garza Principal, Dr. Janice Lombardi, makes clear the difference between low-and high-stakes writing. (00:33)

Writing to learn is a low-stakes, low-pressure tool for learning. It's essentially a way for students to put their thoughts down on paper. "It's a form of reflection, and we believe that reflection is one of the highest-order thinking skills," explains Lombardi.

Interactive notebooks are one tool that Trinidad Garza uses across all subjects as part of their writing-to-learn strategy. An interactive notebook is like a student-created textbook. It has two columns: One side is content in academic language given to students by their teachers, and the other side is a translation of that text or concept in a student's own words -- or sometimes shown through a student-created image.

Students also receive specific writing prompts in their interactive notebooks. They may write an expository, narrative, or creative piece, or an analysis from the perspective of a well-known individual (Joan of Arc, for example) on a particular topic in social studies, says Engelhart. In math, after learning a new concept, math teacher Travis Smith has his students write math tweets . Math tweets are one- to two-sentence summaries -- inspired by Twitter's 140 character tweets -- of a just-learned concept.

"If they are learning about series or sequencing, for instance, 'The difference between a sequence and a series is that sequences use commas and series use pluses,” says Smith. “So, 'A sequence is a sum of a series.' That's a math tweet."

"We're teaching them that writing is a tool,” continues Englehart. “It's a useful way to help them study and to consolidate their learning and their thinking." It also helps students develop their self-scaffolding skills. She has heard many teachers across campus ask their students, "'Where will you look if you can't recall what we just learned? What have you done? Show me the page. Let's go back and look at that.' They're scaffolding back by using the interactive notebook."

Video: Trinidad Garza Instructional Coach, Donna Engelhart, shares how writing to learn has increased their literacy scores. (00:26)

Related: See 'Low-Stakes Writing' for subject-specific prompts and assessment tips from University Park Campus School .

Questioning: Deepening Content Knowledge

Questioning is getting students to come up with their own higher-level questions around a topic or concept. It fosters their critical thinking skills and deepens their understanding of the content.

In a Trinidad Garza social studies class, Engelhart recalls how a teacher introduced her students to robber barons -- unethical American businessmen in the late 19th century, and later big businesses throughout the 1930s and 70s: "I want you to read this information about the robber barons, and then write down two questions: one about a fact that you don't understand and what you need to know about it, and a thinking question: How? Why? When? What?"

When the questions come from students instead of the teachers, it deepens their thinking about what they're learning. "Questioning helps students to start thinking themselves about higher-level questioning: Why did this happen? What was going on in the U.S. that allowed that to happen? What's the outcome of the whole decade impacted by robber barons?" asks Engelhart.

Classroom Talk: Empowering Student Voice

Classroom talk empowers student voice and helps students to articulate their thoughts. It can be between two students, a group of students, or the whole class. It can revolve around a class reading or solving a math problem. "Classroom talk is the process in which students engage with each other to problem solve, answer questions, do research or paired reading, or any kind of thing that gets them talking between themselves," explains Engelhart.

It also promotes active listening, she continues. "What we’re creating here is not just talkers but we’re also creating listeners." Asking students to talk to their shoulder partner is one exercise to promote active listening. After the first person talks, ask the shoulder partner -- the listener -- to explain what the talker just said. "I want the listener to be able to translate what his partner said, because he's doing active listening and thinking it through himself."

Group Work: Fostering Collaboration

In collaborative group work, each student has a role, and it often results in a group product, says Englehart. "When you create roles for your students, they have to be meaningful. Timekeeper, recorder, equipment manager, those are not useful roles. We need to engage every student in a high level of responsibility so that everybody takes ownership of the final product.”

Roles such as questioner and researcher -- unlike timekeeper -- have specific tasks, are vital to the group, and are dependent on each other for the group to succeed. Over time, students internalize these roles and jump into quality group work without direction.

Related: Find group work warm-up activities, role descriptions and prompts, and partnering and assessment tips from University Park Campus School .

Literacy Groups

Video: Trinidad Garza World History teacher, Jeannie Adams, explains the process of working in literacy groups. (00:32)

Literacy groups are a form of collaborative group work. Like group work, everyone in a literacy group has a specific role to carry out. Two things specific to literacy groups are that they revolve around discussing and annotating texts -- from textbook essays to scholarly articles. Annotation helps students understand and distinguish varying perspectives from a single text, which helped Heather Wellman's world geography class when her students were deconstructing the social, political, environmental, and economic points of view of an article about another country.

"Today in class, we did jigsaw reading, where each student with their specific role took part in annotating one article, and then they were in charge of reporting back," explains Wellman. “One person read with the eyes of an economist, and others read with the eyes of a socialist, politician, and environmentalist. And so that way they were able to share back and then synthesize that information succinctly.”

Classroom Successes

Over 80% of Trinidad Garza students are the first generation among their family to go to college, and, according to Principal Lombardi, "about 87% come from low-socioeconomic homes. One hundred percent of our students pass the state assessments in every subject tested. We accept the challenge of scaffolding our students from their known to the unknown," she states.

Trinidad Garza Early College High School

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What is College Readiness?

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critical thinking college readiness

You might be surprised to learn that more than half of first-year college students say they aren’t prepared for college, despite being academically eligible to attend.

College readiness can ensure this doesn't happen.

By definition, college readiness is the set of skills, behaviors, and knowledge a high school student should have before enrollment in their first year of college. Counselors and teachers play a key role in making sure this happens and can help students find academic success in college. If you’re already a teacher, or studying to become one , it’s important to know how you can effectively prepare your students for college.

Let’s break it down.

Why is College Readiness Important?

The transition from high school to college is a major one. In many cases, students move away from home and embark on a new life chapter—both academically and personally. It’s crucial for parents and teachers to understand why college readiness is important so that they can better prepare students for a successful college experience even before enrollment.

Multiple studies show that college readiness improves a student’s chance of actually completing their degree. But the impact is even bigger than that. According to a report by American College Testing (ACT), high school graduates need to be college- and career-ready in order to have a properly skilled workforce that meets the demands of the 21st century.

Below are some ways teachers can equip their students for that next academic step.

How Can Teachers Measure College Readiness?

True college readiness requires both academic and real-world skills. In fact, the ability to solve problems, work in a team, and be resourceful are viewed by some experts as equally important to mastering mathematics and reading. So, while many colleges use ACT/SAT scores or a student’s high school GPA to measure college readiness, there are other indicators or “soft skills” that teachers can look for.

Essential Soft Skills for College Readiness

  • Time management
  • Critical thinking
  • Communication
  • Goal setting
  • Collaboration
  • Problem-solving

critical thinking college readiness

How Can I Prepare Students for College?

Here are five tips you can use to better equip your students for college success.

Focus on Executive Function Skills

Executive function refers to the mental skills that we use every day to learn and manage our daily lives. They include things such as memory, flexible thinking, and self-control. These skills can develop at different rates in different students. One way you can help support students in developing these skills is to establish a mindfulness routine that includes regular self-check-ins, self-reflection, intention setting, and gratitude practice.

Make the Classroom More Rigorous

It might be a challenge at first, but updates to the curriculum to include more intensive coursework is key to ensure students are well equipped with the broader set of strategies they’ll need for college. You can do this by implementing a challenging curriculum and assign longer, more complex assignments that involve things such as research, collaboration, and problem-solving.

Another thing you can do to help prepare your students for college is to teach them the value of extracurricular activities or after-school jobs. These things demonstrate to college admission officers that a student is well rounded and capable of handling the responsibilities that come with college.

Consider Social Aspects of College

Teachers can better prepare their students for college by teaching the social-emotional skills that they need to thrive in a post-secondary setting. Assigning group projects that promote collaboration and encouraging students to become involved in school activities, volunteer opportunities, or cultural events can encourage students to flex their interpersonal skills.

Teach Practical Skills

The best way to teach practical skills is to create coursework that allows students to put them into practice. Educators should look for opportunities to incorporate real-world skills into their instruction. For example, if you’re a math teacher, you can teach students how various math concepts relate to financial literacy, budgeting, or even preparing food.

Encourage Additional Preparation Resources

Prep courses and Advanced Placement (AP) classes are two of the best ways to academically prepare students for college. Not only do they give students a preview of what’s to come, but in many cases, students can earn college credit and get a head start on their college career.

Preparing students for the financial responsibility of college is important, too. The Department of Education’s financial aid toolkit offers multiple free resources for teachers and their students.

Every day, high school teachers help guide their students to academic and career success. If this important, highly rewarding role appeals to you, WGU can get you on the path to becoming a teacher. Learn more or contact us today !

Ready to Start Your Journey?

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Career Preparation

Teachers say critical thinking key to college and career readiness

critical thinking college readiness

Louis Freedberg

September 29, 2015.

critical thinking college readiness

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California teachers say critical thinking skills, not scores on standardized tests, are the best way to assess whether students are prepared for success in college and the workplace, according to an online survey by EdSource in partnership with the California Teachers Association.

Teachers said they have received much more training on how to prepare students for college – and far less on preparing them for non-college options.

They also said college and career readiness has not been fully integrated into the professional development training they have received to implement the Common Core State Standards.

Preparing students to graduate from high school prepared for college and careers is now a principal goal of all major education reforms being implemented in California, including the Common Core standards and the Local Control Funding Formula, which was approved by the state Legislature in June 2013. This represents a major shift from the goal of the No Child Left Behind reforms of the past 15 years, which was to promote proficiency on standardized tests.

The survey of 1,000 teachers randomly selected from among a list of CTA’s more than 300,000 members was conducted last spring. Carried out by the polling firm GBA Strategies, it is the first of its kind to probe teacher attitudes regarding college and career readiness. The survey was partially underwritten by The James Irvine Foundation.

Defining what exactly “college and career readiness” means – and what it will take to ensure that students reach that goal by the time they graduate from high school – is currently a major concern of educators and policy makers around the state, and the teachers’ role in making that happen will be critical.

Teachers overwhelmingly supported the goal of preparing students for college and careers. When asked to rank the most important indicators of college and career readiness, 78 percent of teachers ranked developing critical thinking skills among the three most important indicators. Eight percent of teachers ranked proficiency on the Smarter Balanced test, which more than 3 million students took for the first time last spring, among the three most important indicators.

“I think most college professors would agree that students’ ability to think critically and analyze texts, and to integrate information is much more important than what they did on a test,” said David Plank, executive director of Policy Analysis for California Education, or PACE, a joint policy and research institute of UC Berkeley, Stanford University and the University of Southern California. “The disagreement would come from admissions officers who find tests very efficient in deciding who is eligible for admission or not.”

David Conley, professor of education policy at the University of Oregon, and president of EdImagine, a strategic consulting firm that is working on college and career readiness issues with school districts in California and the California Department of Education, welcomed teachers’ emphasis on critical thinking skills, but he said that the high school curriculum has largely not reflected that emphasis. “The arrows are all pointing toward greater alignment of high school and college, but the challenge will be course redesign at the high school level in particular, and training (of teachers) in new instructional methods,” he said.

Just under one third (30 percent) of teachers said their districts have clearly defined standards for what constitutes college and career readiness. Thirty-five percent say that their districts have standards, but that they are not clearly defined. Eight percent say their districts have no standards at all.

Conley, who authored “ Getting Ready for College, Careers and the Common Core ,” said that it is essential that districts adopt a specific definition of college and career readiness that goes beyond just requiring students to meet the A-G course requirements for admission to UC and CSU. He said what will be needed “is a definition that you can put into operation through professional development (of teachers) and curriculum development. A vague definition doesn’t do you any good.”

At a time when teachers are being asked to take on a number of new reforms, nearly three-fourths of teachers say they are either “very satisfied” or “fairly satisfied” with their jobs. Thirty-one percent of teachers support the Common Core standards, and nearly half support the standards with some reservations. Twelve percent say they are opposed to the standards altogether.

The survey also provides some guideposts for what additional resources teachers feel they need to adequately prepare students for college and careers. At the top of their list are programs that link the high school curriculum to the workplace with a specific career pathway along with more high school career-technical courses.

“High schools have historically done a better job preparing students to graduate ready for college,” said Jon Snyder, executive director of the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education. “They have not done as good a job in our schools preparing students for careers.”

Snyder said it was important to “break down the false dichotomy between college and career.” “We used to say college or career, and you had these two tracks,” he said. “It is important to say  ‘both and,’ not ‘either or.'”

Key Findings Include:

Support for college and career readiness as a goal

  • More than three-fourths of teachers say they believe that preparing students to be ready for college and the workplace by the time they graduate from high school is a very or somewhat realistic goal. Twenty-three percent feel it is not very realistic or not realistic at all.
  • There are differences in teacher attitudes depending on the socioeconomic backgrounds of the students in the schools where they teach. About 58 percent of teachers in schools where fewer than 1 in 4 of their students are eligible for free or reduced-priced meals believe that college and career readiness is a “very realistic” goal. But 20 percent of teachers in schools where more than 3 in 4  students qualify for federally subsidized meals have similar attitudes.

Lack of clearly defined standards

  • Thirty percent of teachers say their districts have clearly defined standards for what constitutes college and career readiness. Thirty-five percent say that their districts have standards, but that they are not clearly defined. Eight percent say their districts have no standards at all.

Little professional development or training for non-college options

  • Although almost all teachers consider themselves knowledgeable about what should be done to prepare students for college and careers, 36 percent say they have received specific training to help them prepare students for college over the past two years.
  • Eight percent say they have received training to prepare students for options other than college.
  • At the high school level, 43 percent of teachers say they have received training to prepare students for college, and 14 percent say they have received training for other career options.
  • Those teachers who have received training say that the professional development training they have received in preparing students for college and careers has been useful to them (69 percent).

College and career readiness training often not integrated with Common Core training

  • Seventy-nine percent express support for the Common Core standards (31 percent support them unconditionally, while another 48 percent support them “with reservations”). Twelve percent are unequivocally opposed to them.
  • At the same time, the majority of teachers (51 percent) say that the goal of college and career readiness has not been integrated into the workshops, in-service training or professional development related to the Common Core they had participated in. Ten percent said that college and career readiness was “very strongly integrated” into this professional development and training.

Resources teachers need

  • Teachers ranked career academies, linked learning or other programs that tie the high school curriculum with a specific career pathway as the No. 1 resource their school or district needed most to prepare students for college and careers.
  • Ranked second and third respectively are more high school career-technical courses and additional school counselors to help students make choices about colleges or alternatives to college.
  • Teachers who were aware of programs outside of their school district to promote college and career readiness also placed a very high value on workplace internships – with nearly two-thirds listing internships as an effective way to prepare students for college and careers.

Survey Documents

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Peg Maddocks 9 years ago 9 years ago

It's refreshing that a majority of teachers are clear and in agreement on what the most important skills are for students to be successful in the real world. Providing internships, mentors, authentic projects, and community resources enriches students' capacity to be ready and to launch themselves, whether they go to college or careers or both. Critical thinking in the classroom means letting kids be at the center with the responsibility and freedom to analyze problems, … Read More

It’s refreshing that a majority of teachers are clear and in agreement on what the most important skills are for students to be successful in the real world. Providing internships, mentors, authentic projects, and community resources enriches students’ capacity to be ready and to launch themselves, whether they go to college or careers or both. Critical thinking in the classroom means letting kids be at the center with the responsibility and freedom to analyze problems, collaborate on ideas, and communicate unique solutions. I hope the CCSS is eventually seen as one way to measure these abilities.

Jim 9 years ago 9 years ago

The idea that everybody has the cognitive level needed to complete college is simply nuts. Most people with IQ’s above 110 could probably get through college and perhaps it might be possible for individuals with IQ’s of say 105. But the idea that someone with an IQ of say 90 could do college level work is beyond crazy. About 25% of the US population has an IQ below 90.

Ellen Moir 9 years ago 9 years ago

Most teachers seem excited about the possibilities new standards represent, and hopeful they will receive the professional learning and support they need to make sure their students are successful. The challenge ahead is to build a profession of teachers who are trusted; who are constantly learning; who know they can take risks to reach every student; who persevere in solving complex issues; who are open to feedback that helps them grow professionally; and, ultimately, who … Read More

Most teachers seem excited about the possibilities new standards represent, and hopeful they will receive the professional learning and support they need to make sure their students are successful. The challenge ahead is to build a profession of teachers who are trusted; who are constantly learning; who know they can take risks to reach every student; who persevere in solving complex issues; who are open to feedback that helps them grow professionally; and, ultimately, who believe all students can learn and meet higher standards.

We can get there by giving teachers on-the-job coaching that meets their specific needs while helping them make a difference for students.

zane de arakal 9 years ago 9 years ago

Dropping the term Vocational Educational affected current curricular planning.

Gary Ravani 9 years ago 9 years ago

This survey's results align nicely with my experience over the course of several years in discussing CCSS with teachers from up and down the state. That puts about 8 in 10 in support, to varying degrees of the CCSS, and 2 in 10 adamantly against. As is typically the case in controversial issues the "against" folks are really, really adamant while the pro folks are much more moderate in their support. This also points out … Read More

This survey’s results align nicely with my experience over the course of several years in discussing CCSS with teachers from up and down the state. That puts about 8 in 10 in support, to varying degrees of the CCSS, and 2 in 10 adamantly against. As is typically the case in controversial issues the “against” folks are really, really adamant while the pro folks are much more moderate in their support.

This also points out that implementation of CCSS, as well as SBAC, is a complex, time driven, resources driven project. Time is scarce in the schools with US teachers having little time to collaborate compared to international peers, and teachers in CA are particularly burdened by high number of students in classrooms and a lack of resources. The latter issues are both inextricably linked to CA’s poor fiscal support for the schools.

CA is currently blessed with policy leadership, both at CDE and the SBE, who understand the level of difficulty schools will have in implementing CCSS and are attempting to mitigate the situation by building some flexibility into the time component of the process. For this they receive a lot of criticism from those who understand the difficulties facing the schools, but want to use the difficulties as levers to drive an anti-public school, anti-teacher agenda. Policy leadership often seem reluctant to address the resources component likely to avoid getting on the wrong side of the notoriously “frugal” governor.

Joy Dugan 9 years ago 9 years ago

The skills mentioned int he article are essential. I work as an educator in a vocational field, Consumer & Family Sciences, and developed and taught at the Middle School & High School level coursework exploring careers and career clusters. This type of course has been helpful to students as it brings more relevance to their coursework. It also assists them in choosing outside of class activities to gain experience.

Jason May 9 years ago 9 years ago

I don't see any indication that this survey ever defined what "critical thinking skills" means. So a bunch of teachers said that an undefined and unmeasurable factor might be more important than "hard" test scores? That's not surprising at all. Standardized test scores are clearly not the best way to assess much of anything. But I've heard no clear proposal for an alternative, and this survey doesn't offer anything new. Read More

I don’t see any indication that this survey ever defined what “critical thinking skills” means. So a bunch of teachers said that an undefined and unmeasurable factor might be more important than “hard” test scores? That’s not surprising at all.

Standardized test scores are clearly not the best way to assess much of anything. But I’ve heard no clear proposal for an alternative, and this survey doesn’t offer anything new.

There is a considerable body of professional literature on the skills in the category of “critical thinking.” It is far too extensive to be covered here. You will need to do some research and a lot of reading.

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Redefining College and Career Readiness Through Critical Design

College and career readiness are often assessed by indicators such as test scores and grade point averages. But there are other ways to forecast and encourage student success, by centering students’ value systems, cultural knowledge, ancestral history, and experiences. The iScholar youth program has demonstrated how educators and stakeholders can redefine the way they think about the future of their students by using a critical design process.

While educators often acknowledge that Black and Latino urban youth need high-quality, job- training opportunities in STEM, the pathways afforded to them don’t always allow for transformative learning. iScholar, which started in 2016, is a school-university-community partnership between North Carolina State University and secondary schools in Durham, NC. Here, mentors work with a group of nine Black and Latino students, each of whom come from traditional urban schools, but with varying degrees of prior academic performance and motivation. Beyond rigorous STEM learning opportunities, the mentors encourage innovation and create an empowering space where the students could reimagine their future; where their culture, values and ethics are honored, valued, and represented within the field of STEM; and where racial disparities and underrepresentation are counteracted — unlike the Eurocentric values that typically dominate the field.

Designing for Social Change

For the SchoolsNEXT design competition , iScholar students were challenged to plan and design sustainable and resilient learning spaces that encouraged innovation, critical thinking, and collaboration. This was an iterative process that followed students over the span of two years as they attended international architecture conferences and engaged with STEM professionals for the purpose of personal and professional development.

Their designs received acclaim from professional architects for highlighting the value of arts integration, STEM disciplines, design aesthetics, equity, mentorship, community and collaboration. Both teams went to the international level of the competition, with the first team winning second place and the second team winning the first-place Award of Excellence .

Creating Empowering Spaces to Dream & Imagine

As former educators turned researchers in educational psychology and equity, we know that the first step in supporting students is creating an empowering space where students’ cultures, values, and ideas are centered. To do that, we turned to Afrofuturism , which offers educators a powerful vision built on radical concepts of freedom by remembering ancestral knowledge from the past, reconstructing and critically analyzing the cultures of Black and Latino urban youth in the present, and imagining empowering futures for students and their communities. This focus helped create a space where scaffolding, communal learning , resistance and resilience transpired. When interviewed , students stated that the opportunity to dream and imagine gave them hope for their future as well as a creative outlet not offered during the traditional school day.

Honoring Students’ Cultures, Values, and Ethics

To design an innovative school, students needed to know that innovation was already a part of their cultural repertoire. STEM is not typically explored from an Afrocentric or Indigenous perspective, although Eurocentric thought within STEM has grown out of the experiences and wisdom of African and Indigenous people. The iScholar team counteracted this narrative with designs inspired by ancestral knowledge. For example, students used African and Indigenous patterns, incorporated the science of beekeeping and its importance to ancient Egyptian cultures, as well as a sustainable method of hydroponic farming — which was invented by the Aztecs — called “Chinampas.”

Counteracting Racial Disparities With Critical Analysis

We intentionally connected students not only to their past cultural knowledge but also to the present work being done in their communities. Instead of students using our interpretations of community needs, they were encouraged to assess the needs of their communities and develop ways in which their school designs could address those needs. By giving students the space to critically examine their communities and schools through interviews with community members, they amplified their own voices and those of their community. Through critical analysis, the iScholar team questioned the absence of Blackness and Latinidad within the curriculum and discussed how it led to the positioning of Whiteness as the standard for learning. It was because of this critical analysis that students were able to counteract traditional curricula and educational spaces that lack a connection to their lives.

Utilizing a design process — within which students can think critically, ideate, and iterate their ideas — is an important aspect of STEM learning for underserved youth. Our critical design process allows students to reimagine their career futures and to counter systemic barriers that marginalize Black and Latino urban youth. Students can dream and imagine while positioning themselves as creators who can critically analyze and read the world around them. The process consists of four phases:

  • Deconstruct: Youth critically examined inequities by resisting traditional Eurocentric perspectives about what school is and how learning should take place. Students also worked to recover historical content and reconnect with knowledge of the past that has been stripped from their traditional curricula.
  • Dream: Youth formulated ideas and concepts that would counter existing power structures and mainstream narratives of success for Black and Latino people.
  • Design: Youth created, constructed, reshaped, and reclaimed positions within society by developing new self-narratives. For iScholar youth, this was achieved through architectural design and 3-D modeling, but it can also take the form of creative outlets such as storytelling and poetry.
  • Deliberate and Develop: Black and Latino urban youth benefited from firsthand experiences with experts who nurtured their ambition but provided healthy critiques of their design. In so doing, these experts helped strengthen ideas in culturally sensitive and identity-affirming ways.

These nine award-winning youth and their experience serve as an example of how college- and career-readiness can be transformative when Black and Latino students bring their own value systems, cultural knowledge, ancestral history, and experience to STEM education. Ultimately, the hope of taking a race-conscious approach to college and career readiness is to create the next generation of Black and Latino youth who are critically conscious and have the tools to create the futures that they envision for themselves and their community.

Check out the students’ award-winning designs here:

  • Team 1 Presentation
  • Team 1 Video 
  • Team 2 Presentation
  • Team 2 Video 

Joanna Ali is the director of curriculum and innovative instruction for the Black and Belonging Collaborative. She is a former middle school art, design & engineering teacher, a graduate research and teaching assistant with the iScholar team, and a Ph.D. candidate in educational psychology at North Carolina State University.

Kia Allah serves as director of youth equity programming with the Black and Belonging Collaborative, where she develops projects that empower urban youth to be critical change agents in their communities. She is a former Spanish teacher, a graduate research assistant with the iScholar team, and a Ph.D. candidate in educational equity at North Carolina State University.

Explore the Other Entries in the Series

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ACT® WorkKeys

Guide to the national career readiness certificate.

  • The Albert Team
  • Last Updated On: May 14, 2024

critical thinking college readiness

As the job market evolves, showing workplace skills becomes increasingly important for young adults. The National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC)™, administered by ACT®, verifies these skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, reading comprehension, and applied math. This comprehensive guide explores the significance of the NCRC and ACT® WorkKeys assessments. In this post, we’ll outline how to boost career advancement and prepare for a successful professional life. If you’re getting ready to enter the workforce, understanding the NCRC is critical to achieving your career goals.

What We Review

Understanding the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC)

What is the national career readiness certificate.

The National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) demonstrates an individual’s capability in essential workplace skills. Administered by ACT® , the NCRC measures skills critical to job success across industries and positions. These skills include problem-solving, critical thinking, reading comprehension, and applied math. Importantly, the certificate is a reliable indicator to employers that a potential employee has the necessary skills to perform various duties.

critical thinking college readiness

How It Benefits Young Adults in the Workforce

Here are several ways the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) can boost a young professional’s career prospects:

  • More Job Opportunities: Primarily, many employers value the NCRC as evidence of key skills. This can lead to more job openings, especially for roles that require specific skills upfront.
  • Improved Job Readiness: Secondly, the NCRC helps young adults understand what skills they need to excel at work. This understanding makes them stand out as candidates and increases their confidence in their job performance.
  • Potential for Higher Earnings: Additionally, research indicates that having an NCRC might lead to better starting pay. Employers trust the NCRC and often prefer to hire certified workers.
  • Career Development: Moreover, getting the NCRC can help young adults advance in their careers. It boosts their resumes and promotes ongoing learning and skill improvement, key for long-term success.
  • Widely Recognized: The NCRC is acknowledged nationwide, allowing young professionals to seek jobs across various states and industries without having to prove their skills again.

Obtaining the NCRC shows commitment to professional development and readiness to tackle modern workforce challenges.

Overview of ACT® WorkKeys Assessments

What are act® workkeys.

ACT® WorkKeys is a series of tests that help employers choose, train, and keep effective employees. Specifically, it evaluates basic and more complex job skills, offering a standardized method to measure and compare these skills nationwide. The tests are crucial for earning the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC), which shows an understanding of key workplace abilities.

How ACT® WorkKeys Are Related to the NCRC?

critical thinking college readiness

The NCRC is given to those who excel in three key ACT® WorkKeys tests: Applied Math, Graphic Literacy, and Workplace Documents. These assessments check a person’s ability to handle common job tasks. Passing these tests earns the NCRC, proving a person has the necessary skills for various jobs.

Types of Skills and Abilities Assessed by ACT® WorkKeys

  • Applied Math : This test looks at how well a candidate can use math to solve practical problems, like figuring out order costs, margins, or product output.
  • Graphic Literacy : This test measures the ability to interpret and use information from visuals, such as charts, graphs, and blueprints.
  • Workplace Documents : This test evaluates how well someone can understand and use written materials in the workplace, like emails, memos, and instructions

These tests determine if a job candidate is ready and suitable for jobs that demand high performance. They provide a trusted measure of the skills that employers consider important for success in professional roles. Doing well on the ACT® WorkKeys assessments helps get the NCRC and boosts job prospects in various fields.

Preparing for the NCRC Test

Preparing for the NCRC test involves understanding and enhancing core skills that are essential in today’s workforce. Here are some tips and strategies to help you effectively prepare for the exam:

Tips and Strategies to Prepare for the NCRC Test

  • Understand the Format: First, familiarize yourself with the layout and types of questions on the ACT® WorkKeys assessments through the official ACT® website . Knowing this can help alleviate test-day anxiety and improve your approach to tackling questions.
  • Review Key Concepts: Next, concentrate on the core assessment areas of Applied Math, Graphic Literacy, and Workplace Documents. Additionally, online resources for math and reading comprehension can be used to strengthen these skills.
  • Take Practice Tests: Furthermore, find practice tests with resources like Albert that mimic the ACT® WorkKeys format. Regular practice with these tests will not only familiarize you with the exam structure but also pinpoint areas where you need more focus.
  • Study Groups and Tutoring: You should also participate in or form study groups with peers who are also preparing for the NCRC. Tools like Discord can facilitate virtual study sessions if in-person meetings are not feasible. Additionally, consider finding tutors who specialize in areas you find challenging.
  • Set a Study Schedule: Finally, use scheduling tools like Google Calendar or apps like My Study Life to organize and stick to a consistent study plan. These tools can help you manage your time effectively, ensuring you cover all necessary material without the stress of last-minute cramming.

critical thinking college readiness

NCRC Practice Test – Your Path to Success

Taking NCRC practice tests is a crucial step in your preparation strategy. Here’s how they can benefit you and where to find quality practice tests:

How Taking NCRC Practice Tests Can Benefit Test-Takers

  • Familiarity with Test Format: Practice tests give you a feel for the timing and pressure of the real exam, reducing test-day anxiety.
  • Identification of Weak Areas: Regular practice helps pinpoint areas where you need more study, allowing you to focus your preparation effectively.
  • Improvement in Speed and Accuracy: Continuous practice enhances your ability to answer questions quickly and accurately, which is critical under timed test conditions.

Resources for Finding Quality Practice Tests

  • Official ACT® WorkKeys Practice Tests: The best way to prepare is to use the official practice tests offered by ACT®. These are designed to mirror the actual exam in both format and difficulty.
  • Educational Websites: Websites like Albert provide resources for mastering Applied Math , Workplace Documents , and Graphic Literacy .
  • Local Community Colleges: Additionally, many community colleges offer preparation courses for the NCRC, which include practice tests as part of the curriculum.
  • Library Resources: Lastly, you should check your local library for study guides and practice test materials that can be used for free.

By integrating these strategies and resources into your preparation, you can ensure that you are well-prepared to succeed on the NCRC test and confidently move forward in your career.

Interpreting Your WorkKeys Scores

Knowing your ACT® WorkKeys scores is key to understanding how well you might do in the workplace and for earning your National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC). Here’s a simple guide to these scores and why employers find them valuable.

Understanding WorkKeys Scores and What They Mean for NCRC

critical thinking college readiness

WorkKeys has three main tests—Applied Math, Graphic Literacy, and Workplace Documents. Each test scores from less than 3 to 7. A score below 3 means you haven’t met the minimum skill level needed. The NCRC is granted based on your lowest score in these tests:

  • Bronze: Scores of at least 3 in each area, showing skills needed for about 16% of jobs.
  • Silver: Scores of at least 4, covering about 67% of jobs.
  • Gold: Scores of at least 5, suitable for about 93% of jobs.
  • Platinum: Scores of at least 6, qualifying you for 99% of jobs.

How Employers View and Use These Scores

Employers look at WorkKeys scores to help them hire. Higher scores can set you apart in a tough job market because they:

  • Show Skill Levels: They prove your abilities in critical areas like math, reading graphs, and understanding instructions.
  • Cut Training Costs: Higher scores suggest you might need less training, saving employers money.
  • Boost Retention: Matching the right people with the right jobs means employees are happier and stay longer.

How Can I Prep for the National Career Readiness Certificate?

Altogether, earning the NCRC through the ACT® WorkKeys assessments is a smart move for your career. Here’s how you can prepare effectively and make the most of this opportunity:

  • Learn About the Tests: Get to know the format of each ACT® WorkKeys test.
  • Practice: Focus your study efforts and practice specifically for these tests.
  • Use Good Study Materials: Find the best resources to help you prepare.

Employers really value the NCRC because it shows you have important job skills. This makes the NCRC a great addition to your resume. By preparing well and understanding your scores, the NCRC can lead to better job offers, higher pay, and ongoing career growth. Put in the effort, understand the scores, and use them to your advantage. Start your NCRC journey as a key part of your career development.

Need help preparing for ACT® WorkKeys and the National Career Readiness Certificate?

Albert has hundreds of ACT® WorkKeys practice questions and full-length practice tests to try out.

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‘Brown v. Board of Education’ at 70: A Dream Dissolved

A young Black woman's image dissolves in the smoke.

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Editor’s note: For additional perspectives on the 70th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education , Education Week Opinion Contributor Bettina L. Love invited R. L’Heureux Lewis-McCoy to contribute an opinion essay for a brief series on the U.S. Supreme Court decision.

As we arrive at the 70 th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas decision on May 17, undoubtedly, new estimates of the segregation within our schools will be released, and commentaries on the significance of the lawsuit in sparking the modern Civil Rights Movement will proliferate. But behind this fanfare and reflection, a stark truth remains ignored.

The segregation that was meant to be uprooted with the Brown decision not only persisted, but it has grown, and today, we stand at a critical juncture—the promise of education as opportunity that has existed for more than 100 years is on the verge of being no more.

In recent decades, we have continued to whittle away at confidence in public schools, silenced the voices of Black students and families, and allowed opportunity hoarding to govern how we orient ourselves toward school and each other.

The landmark victory in 1954 was meant to actualize the ability of all students, particularly Black students, to have access to high-quality schooling and shatter the grip of segregation in our schools and public institutions. Like in the Reconstruction era, Black families after Brown ran at the chance to better themselves with education and saw it as one of the engines of mobility, if not the primary one.

As my grandfather who was raised in Selma, Ala., under Jim Crow would tell me, “Get you a good education, they can never take that away from you.” My family, like many, knew that accessing quality schooling was no easy task, and as resistance to desegregation proved to be an evergreen reality, we took matters into our own hands.

To gain access to good schools, families like mine ran to magnet schools, to the suburbs, to Roman Catholic schools, to charter schools in pursuit of “good schools,” but as we chased opportunities, actual opportunity was moving further away from us. The expansion of segregated suburbs, the crippling of affirmative action, the failed experiments of education reform, the gentrification of urban neighborhoods and their schools, all made it hard for Black children to find possibility.

A few years ago, I met a very talented Black teenager named Sasha at an open mic night outside of Detroit. Sasha performed a show-stopping poem that enraptured the room. As I talked to her about her future, I asked, “Where are you looking at for college?”

She replied matter-of-factly, “I’m not.”

I laughed and asked her to tell me where she was really thinking about. She was already on the Advanced Placement track at her high school and was flourishing in spoken word. Sasha, raised in the shadows of the collapse of the big three automakers, outlined how she’d seen a number of members of her family make the leap to college but struggle to pay bills, and those who went to schools with big names, quietly professed to her that they’d be paying back their debts “for the rest of their lives.”

Sasha was making a calculated decision to forgo college because it wasn’t a place of future possibility, instead it was a place that confined her options in the future.

There are many Sashas among us, talented, astute observers of the social world, who wonder if the world in front of them is opening wider or is it rapidly closing. I must admit, when I first spoke with Sasha, I thought her pessimism was grossly misplaced.

I’d read reams of studies that showed the return to investment on education was high for Black students. But at that time, I didn’t realize that Black borrowers carried debt longer than their white counterparts and that American student debt would grow to more than $1.7 trillion, equivalent to Australia’s GDP.

I told her about the access provided by affirmative action but didn’t predict that the twilight of affirmative action would come at the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court. I told her about the scholarships that were surely available for a student with her talents, not knowing that DEI programs would be targeted state by state and, then, nationally.

For every study that demonstrates the power of education, there are emerging counterstories that remind us things are not promised.

Seventy years after Brown , we would all do well to learn, as I have, from the Sashas of this world. Talented, hardworking Black students have not only been segregated but know the opportunities that were possible when I was young adult are not nearly the same today. Many reflections on Brown assume that we have made progress and will continue to, but we also must soberly consider that tomorrow may be bleaker than yesterday and prepare accordingly.

Three years before the Brown decision, Langston Hughes asked, “What happens to a dream deferred?” Today, we must ask ourselves not what happens to dreams deferred but what happens to a dream dissolved?

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College of Science

A woman in a white blouse stands in front of greenery.

Zoology graduate thrives with Oregon State's Ecampus

College was just not working out for Samantha Crockett.

She graduated from Eagle Rock High School in Los Angeles with a perfect 4.0 GPA in 2020 and headed off to the nearby university to study zoology.

“The professors weren't very welcoming,” Crockett remembered. “They didn't seem to care about the students that much. They cared more about their own research and graduate students."

Discouraged, she returned home to Los Angeles with serious doubts about her college education. Her father told her about Oregon State University's Ecampus program, where students can earn their degrees almost entirely online.

"Everything was a million times better when I enrolled in Ecampus," she said. "I stuck with it and really loved it. At Oregon State, a lot of professors are more welcoming to their students. They respond to emails quickly, and they're willing to work with you. They want you to do well in their classes."

Crockett spent most of her college years in Los Angeles but will come to Corvallis in June to walk in graduation. A couple of summer courses later, she will officially have her degree in zoology.

A woman in a blue sweatshirt holds a bird.

Samantha Crockett holds a bird.

Ecampus offers customizable online learning

Distance learning is not a 21st-century technological innovation at Oregon State. As far back as the 1880s, students living hundreds of miles from Corvallis could attend college lectures on agricultural science in their hometowns.

Some lectures were delivered from the cabooses of trains, organized through local train depots. Other early distance learning programs brought business and manufacturing classes to Portland and the Oregon Coast.

In the 1980s, Oregon State students took liberal arts classes through video presentations and corresponded with professors through phone calls and traditional mail.

Internet technology created the modern Ecampus program in 2002. OSU's Ecampus bachelor's degree programs were ranked in the Top 10 in the nation this year by U.S. News & World Report for the 10th straight year.

Crockett is an enthusiastic supporter of the Ecampus concept.

"It made my life a lot easier," she said. "I was also able to learn about what I love, about zoology. It was really a great solution for me. Oregon State professors are encouraging, especially if you're struggling. They're willing to give you extensions on assignments and things like that to make sure you still do well in the class."

Ecampus enabled Crockett to work and pursue internships while studying remotely. Classes are individualized, with weekly assignment deadlines.

"However, you don't have to log in at a certain hour for class," she said. "There's a flexible schedule."

Professors post videos, readings and lectures. Yet there are still group projects. For example, as she finishes her senior year, Crockett is working in a group studying the intelligence of crows and other corvid species.

"There's still interaction with your classmates and still communication with your professors," she said. "You're just not meeting them face-to-face."

Students have opportunities to meet their professors and classmates in person. Crockett said she made friends while working last summer at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.

She took two classes at the center -- one on birds and one on ecosystems. "They were lab-based classes, so we did a lot of field work," said Crockett. "It was a cool experience because they treated us as scientists rather than students. We had a lot of freedom in the classes."

"OSU opened my mind to other career paths."

Crockett’s passion for animals began in childhood, growing up near the Los Angeles Zoo. In 10th grade she became a student volunteer, undergoing a two-month course on all the species. Her role involved educating zoo guests about conservation.

While the experience gave Crockett the opportunity to work with animals, there were other benefits.

"I grew up having a lot of stage fright and a fear of public speaking," she said. "Volunteering at the zoo helped me get out of my shell. I was speaking about what I love. I'm very interested in conservation and getting people involved."

Crockett was already somewhat accustomed to distance learning when she started the Ecampus program. The pandemic hit during the second semester of her senior year at Eagle Rock High School.

"We had all the senior activities of first semester, and we were excited about prom, graduation and all that," she remembered. "Then came March. Everything shut down. We had a virtual graduation and didn't get a prom or anything like that. It was an upsetting year, but we made it through."

Emerging from the pandemic into in-person college was just not for her, Crockett said. Ecampus enabled her to shine.

"I enjoyed a lot of my classes," she said. "I'm taking an animal behavior class right now. That's one of the main topics I'm interested in. I took another class on general ecology. That's not something I'm generally interested in, but I really enjoyed the class."

Such pleasant surprises came several times, Crockett said. "There were some classes I didn't think I'd like but I ended up loving. It pushed me to expand my horizons in zoology and different parts of it. It's not just animal behavior. There's ecology, there's conservation, there's field work and conducting research."

As a result, she changed her perspective on what she may want to do next.

"I went into college thinking I want to work in a zoo, I want to be a zookeeper," Crockett said. "Now I think I might want to do some field research. I kind of want to work in conservation. OSU opened my mind to other career paths."

A woman stands on a log outside wearing a tank top and shorts.

Samantha Crockett explores Oregon.

Looking to the future

Crockett currently volunteers at the California Wildlife Center in Calabasas. "We're a rescue, rehabilitation and release facility," she said. "We work hands-on with a lot of birds like early native Californian species."

While she works with birds, she works with squirrels and possums as well. "We also have seals and sea lions," she added. "We're the only rehab facility available to go out and rescue seals and sea lions. It's a great atmosphere to work in. Not a lot of places allow you to have close, personal contact with the animals as a volunteer."

After she receives her degree, Crockett plans to send resumes to the California Wildlife Center and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. She is also eyeing Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park in Florida and employers in Oregon and Hawaii.

"I definitely want to work in some form of conservation," she said.

Graduate school may also be in her future, but for now, she wants to gain work experience.

Her Ecampus experience at Oregon State opened her eyes to a world of possibilities, she added.

"I'm young. I don't want to rush myself."

Read more stories about: students , research , facilities and instrumentation , online learning , zoology major

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KPMG Survey: C-Suite Cyber Leaders Optimistic about Defenses, but Large Percentage Suffered Recent Cyber Attack

Artificial Intelligence Seen as a "Game Changer"

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NEW YORK, May 13, 2024 - A recent survey conducted by KPMG, the audit, tax, and advisory firm, reveals that despite a growing number of attacks and breaches, C-suite cyber leaders are optimistic about the effectiveness of their defenses. The survey also highlights the growing importance of artificial intelligence (AI) in the fight against cyber threats.

According to the survey of 200 C-suite cyber leaders at companies with revenue of $1 billion and above, 40% reported that their company had suffered a recent cyberattack resulting in a security breach, with 38% experiencing one to three attacks. Most security leaders (76%) expressed concerns about the increasing sophistication of new cyber threats, especially those who had experienced a cyberattack in the past year. The top concerns included threats from organized cyber criminal groups, insider threats from employees and contractors, and individual hackers.

Interestingly, security leaders who had experienced a recent cyberattack were just as likely to feel confident about their Security Operations Center’s (SOC) oversight of risk areas and readiness for threats. Specifically:

  • 73% of security leaders expressed a high level of confidence in their SOC's understanding of the organization's risk areas and vulnerabilities.
  • 86% of security leaders were confident in their SOC's readiness to prevent future sophisticated attacks
  • 90% claimed their SOC had full visibility across their organization's risk areas and vulnerabilities.

Artificial Intelligence Seen as a “Game Changer”

The survey also highlighted the growing importance of AI-based automation in cybersecurity. Two-thirds of security leaders considered AI-based automation very important for staying ahead of new threats and increasing the agility and responsiveness of their SOCs.

Not only that, but AI was seen as a "game changer" across all security functions, including identity management, monitoring, predictive analytics, and anomaly detection. Furthermore, 72% of security leaders identified themselves as "first adopters" of new cybersecurity solutions and services, with AI likely playing a significant role in driving this mindset.

While AI-based automation was seen as beneficial for SOCs, leaders rank trusting the reliability of AI recommendations (38%) as a top concern, followed by potential for employee backlash over potential job loss (30%), and the culture change required to build support for AI (30%). And 29% are concerned it will create new cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities.

Challenges Remain an Issue, but Executives Expect Resources to Increase

The survey identified several challenges faced by security leaders, including operational issues such as security, data quality, and completeness (30%), fatigue in navigating low fidelity alerts versus real threats (30%), monitoring perimeters (25%) and delays in threat detection/remediation (24%). Nearly a third (32%) say their SOC has difficulty determining the severity of threats and vulnerabilities.

When it comes to resources, a third (33%) said not enough headcount is a major issue, 48% said it is somewhat of an issue.  More say they have ‘major issues’ with retention and attracting talent (47%), maintaining up-to-date knowledge/training (46%), and lacking specialized skills (45%).

Nevertheless, the survey revealed that most SOC leaders expect their headcount and budget to increase over the next two years to support their priorities. Specifically, two-thirds or more of security leaders reported that their SOC headcount and budget would increase in the next two years, with the majority (87%) expecting an increase of up to 20%. Leaders say their current annual SOC budget averages $14.6 million with most (37%) going to prevention and detection.

"The findings of this survey highlight the complex landscape that security leaders face in today's digital world," said Matt Miller, Principal of Cyber Security, KPMG. “Organizations continue to invest in security operations in order to evolve capabilities.  They are also committed to reducing complexity through consolidation of technologies. And while there is optimism about the effectiveness of SOCs and the potential of AI-based automation, it is crucial for organizations to address the challenges and concerns identified to ensure the resilience of their cybersecurity defenses."

For more information about the survey and its findings, please visit Media (kpmg.com) .

About KPMG LLP

KPMG LLP is the U.S. firm of the KPMG global organization of independent professional services firms providing audit, tax and advisory services. The KPMG global organization operates in 143 countries and territories and has more than 273,000 people working in member firms around the world. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. KPMG International Limited is a private English company limited by guarantee. KPMG International Limited and its related entities do not provide services to clients.

KPMG is widely recognized for being a great place to work and build a career. Our people share a sense of purpose in the work we do, and a strong commitment to community service, inclusion and diversity and eradicating childhood illiteracy. Learn more at www.kpmg.com/us .

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KPMG 2024 Cybersecurity Survey

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IMAGES

  1. 6 Main Types of Critical Thinking Skills (With Examples)

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  2. How to be a Scholar. 6 Steps to Encourage Critical Thinking

    critical thinking college readiness

  3. Critical Thinking and College Readiness

    critical thinking college readiness

  4. The benefits of critical thinking for students and how to develop it

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  5. What is Critical Thinking?

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  6. Critical Thinking Skills

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VIDEO

  1. We Are Critical Thinkers

  2. Milgram experiment || Ethics and Critical Thinking college project //Wyatt Adrian Torin//

  3. AVID at O'Farrell Charter Schools: College Readiness Begins Here #shorts

  4. 10 Essential Skills Engineering Graduates Must Master for Career Success

  5. Teacher De-Wokefies Student By Teaching Critical Thinking

  6. Unlock Success: Prepare Your Mind for Opportunity #shorts

COMMENTS

  1. Developing Critical Thinking

    Which is unfortunate, he says, since developing critical-thinking skills is vital not only to students' readiness for college and career, but to their civic readiness, as well. "It's important to recognize that critical thinking is not just something that takes place in the classroom or in the workplace, it's something that takes place — and ...

  2. Resources and Downloads to Support College Readiness

    Review suggestions from educators at KIPP King Collegiate High School in San Lorenzo, California, on how to develop and assess critical-thinking skills to foster college readiness. Then check out how Kipp King addresses professional development on critical thinking, and explore some of the KIPP King school downloads to use them in your own ...

  3. Assessing Collegiate Readiness

    As a result, 60% of entering college students lack proficiency in higher-order skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, and written communication. This is a worrying trend, especially because many students today are choosing alternative paths such as trade schools, job or training programs, and non-college degree programs.

  4. Critical Thinking Skills

    Critical thinking is a desire to seek, patience to doubt, fondness to meditate, slowness to assert, readiness to consider, carefulness to dispose and set in order; and hatred for every kind of imposture. —Francis Bacon, philosopher. Critical thinking is a fundamental skill for college students, but it should also be a lifelong pursuit.

  5. Readiness

    Measure critical thinking, problem solving, and effective written communication skills to create a more complete picture of students' readiness for college and career. Evidence-Based Leverage reliable and valid assessments aligned to current assessment models, education research, and best practices - backed by 20+ years of research and use.

  6. PDF College and Career Readiness Framework

    The Framework can be used by pathway teams and individual classroom teachers to supplement and enrich their college and career readiness supports. The Framework can also help pathway teams and teachers assess the quality of their work and develop action plans geared toward continuous improvement.

  7. What Students Need to Know and Do

    College readiness means preparation to handle the higher expectations, faster pacing and deeper thinking skills needed in college courses. Research conducted by Dr. David Conley of the University of Oregon digs into the necessary content knowledge beyond course names and identifies "writing skills, algebraic concepts, key foundational content ...

  8. 6 Strategies to Make Your Students College Ready

    This is the premise that the Common Instructional Framework (PDF) -- created by Jobs for the Future -- is built on: When you let students take charge of their learning, they succeed. Trinidad Garza Early College High School uses the six strategies from the Common Instructional Framework: collaborative group work, literacy groups, scaffolding ...

  9. College and Career Readiness Assessment: Validation of the Key

    College readiness practices at 38 high schools and the development of the CollegeCareerReady School Diagnostic tool. Paper presented at the 2010 annual conference of the American Educational Research Association, Denver, CO.

  10. Correlates of Critical Thinking and College and Career Readiness for

    personnel to consider the assessment of critical thinking as part of career planning in a data-based decision-making framework to provide equal access and support to all students in terms of college and career readiness. Keywords assessment, high school, correlation, academics/standards, 21st century skills, critical thinking, multi-tiered ...

  11. 11 College and Career Readiness Resources

    11 College and Career Readiness Resources. Published by eSchool Media, June 1, 2021. College and career readiness is of critical importance for all students—here's how to guide them down the right path. College and career readiness should start early to help students develop growth mindsets and outline goals for their personal success. With ...

  12. What is College Readiness?

    College readiness can ensure this doesn't happen. By definition, college readiness is the set of skills, behaviors, and knowledge a high school student should have before enrollment in their first year of college. Counselors and teachers play a key role in making sure this happens and can help students find academic success in college.

  13. Teachers say critical thinking key to college and career readiness

    When asked to rank the most important indicators of college and career readiness, 78 percent of teachers ranked developing critical thinking skills among the three most important indicators. Eight percent of teachers ranked proficiency on the Smarter Balanced test, which more than 3 million students took for the first time last spring, among ...

  14. Redefining College and Career Readiness Through Critical Design

    College and career readiness are often assessed by indicators such as test scores and grade point averages. But there are other ways to forecast and encourage student success, by centering students' value systems, cultural knowledge, ancestral history, and experiences. ... critical thinking, and collaboration. This was an iterative process ...

  15. The College and Career Readiness and Success Organizer

    These include problem solving, critical thinking, and research and synthesis skills (Alliance for Excellence in Education, 2007; Wiley, Wyatt, & Camara, 2010). ... ON-TRACK INDICATORS FOR READINESS are used to evaluate a learner's progress toward readiness in college and careers. A number of on-track indicators have emerged from research on ...

  16. College Readiness: A Guide to Preparing for Higher Education

    College readiness helps achieve success in higher education and beyond. Students can start by diversifying their skills and using all available resources. ... Expand critical thinking skills. One of the main goals of higher education is to equip the workforce and society with well-rounded, critical thinkers. ...

  17. PDF Preparing American Students for the Workforce of the Future

    Ensuring Every Student's Readiness for College, Career, and Civic Life By Laura Jimenez September 14, 2020 ... citizenship in the 21st century is a critical first step. Most states have definitions ... and 21st-century skills such as critical thinking and collabora - tion.15 Most states include these in their definitions of college, ...

  18. Correlates of Critical Thinking and College and Career Readiness for

    Considered a non-academic factor that is not necessarily measured by academic indicators of college and career readiness (e.g., grade point average, college admissions exams scores), critical thinking is an important aspect of 21st century learning and thus should be embedded into secondary school instruction and assessment.

  19. PDF COLLEGE READINESS OF FILIPINO K TO 12 GRADUATES: INSIGHTS FROM A ...

    College readiness as an evolving concept is measured in various ways (Anderson & Fulton, 2015; Camara, 2013; ... critical thinking, and formulating a plan) and extended thinking skills (investigating a problem and synthesizing information). They also examine the congruence of the academic content

  20. PDF Overview: State Definitions of College and Career Readiness

    Standards are designed to set higher expectations for critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaborative skills across a range of academic ... In the four states that define college readiness and career readiness separately, most have developed a definition for college or career readiness rather than both. For example, Nebraska has

  21. Guide to the National Career Readiness Certificate

    The National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC)™, administered by ACT®, verifies these skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, reading comprehension, and applied math. This comprehensive guide explores the significance of the NCRC and ACT® WorkKeys assessments. In this post, we'll outline how to boost career advancement and prepare ...

  22. Bridging critical thinking and transformative learning: The role of

    In recent decades, approaches to critical thinking have generally taken a practical turn, pivoting away from more abstract accounts - such as emphasizing the logical relations that hold between statements (Ennis, 1964) - and moving toward an emphasis on belief and action.According to the definition that Robert Ennis (2018) has been advocating for the last few decades, critical thinking is ...

  23. Austin Community College Launches Free Digital Skills Program for

    The college recently announced a pilot program designed to provide them with digital skills essential for today's job market. Set to start this June, the Military Spouse Microcredential Pilot ...

  24. Correlates of Critical Thinking and College and Career Readiness for

    Considered a non-academic factor that is not necessarily measured by academic indicators of college and career readiness (e.g., grade point average, college admissions exams scores), critical thinking is an important aspect of 21st century learning and thus should be embedded into secondary school instruction and assessment. In this study, secondary students with and without disabilities were ...

  25. 'Brown v. Board of Education' at 70: A Dream Dissolved

    As we arrive at the 70 th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas decision on May 17, undoubtedly, new estimates of the segregation within our schools will be released ...

  26. Zoology graduate thrives with Oregon State's Ecampus

    Samantha Crockett's journey from a struggling college student to a thriving zoology graduate is a testament to the transformative power of online education. Faced with isolation and academic disillusionment, she found her stride at Oregon State University's Ecampus program, where supportive professors and flexible learning opportunities reignited her passion for zoology.

  27. KPMG 2024 Cybersecurity Survey

    May 13, 2024. NEW YORK, May 13, 2024 - A recent survey conducted by KPMG, the audit, tax, and advisory firm, reveals that despite a growing number of attacks and breaches, C-suite cyber leaders are optimistic about the effectiveness of their defenses. The survey also highlights the growing importance of artificial intelligence (AI) in the fight ...