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A Preliminary Investigation of Using Writing as a Critical Thinking Tool

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Engineering Mathematical Potpourri

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

22.86.1 - 22.86.24



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Paper Authors


Jean Hodges Virginia Commonwealth University, Qatar

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Since Fall 2004, N. Jean Hodges has been an Assistant Professor of Writing at Virginia Commonwealth University, Qatar (VCUQatar) in Doha, Qatar. She earned her degrees in North Carolina: a Master of Science in Technical Communication from North Carolina State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, magna cum laude, from Queens College (now Queens University). Her work experiences in legal, medical, executive, and academic positions and her business training have informed her understanding of writing in the workplace and in different fields. Her interdisciplinary Master’s program inspired the focus of her research and academic work: how we learn—the psychology of writing and creating. She has presented on this topic in professional meetings and academic venues. From 2005 - 2010, she collaborated with Dr. John Schmeelk on a five-year series of studies that revolutionized the teaching of Contemporary Mathematics at VCUQatar. Results from these studies have been presented in Abu Dhabi and Qatar, as well as at previous annual meetings of ASEE.

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A PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION OF USING WRITING AS A CRITICAL THINKING TOOL IN CONTEMPORARY MATHEMATICS AbstractThis study examines the relationship among learning, writing, critical thinking, and knowledge retention.Having noted students’ surprise at failing a math placement test when they believe they “know” thematerial on it, the author hypothesizes that a lack of critical thinking about the material in earlier mathcourses allows students’ memory of it to fade over time. The author uses Bloom’s Taxonomy, asmodified and published in 2001, to show the need for higher-level thinking to facilitate knowledgeretention. Writing is used as a principal strategy for stimulating critical thinking among students studyingContemporary Mathematics at an American college in the Middle East. Studies involving five suchclasses during the 2010-2011 academic year will incorporate critical thinking assignments via writingrequirements and test the effects of these assignments on students’ retention.

Hodges, J. (2011, June), A Preliminary Investigation of Using Writing as a Critical Thinking Tool Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17368

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