June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Educational Research and Methods
24.989.1 - 24.989.17
Practical, authentic and sustainable development and assessment of critical thinking in engineering through model eliciting activitiesHigher order skills such as problem solving or critical thinking are key attributes for graduates of anyengineering program, are amongst industries highly desired skills for new employees and are considereda hallmark of a university education. While most programs claim to develop critical thinking in somemanner, deliberate development and direct assessment of critical thinking using some kind of conceptualframework is less common and quite challenging. This may be due to a lack of definition of criticalthinking and the continuing debate on critical thinking being a generic or disciplinespecific skill, and lackof examples of practical, authentic and sustainable methods for developing and assessing critical thinkingin engineering using disciplinespecific performance tasks.Model eliciting activities (MEAs) are performancebased, realistic problems used in the classroom thatrequire learners to document their solution to problems using mathematical models, and document theirprocesses for solving them. Studies have shown MEAs to be valuable in helping students to developconceptual understanding, knowledge transfer, and problemsolving skills. The common principles onwhich the MEAs are based upon are interwoven with aspects of critical thinking; the assessment andvaluation of information; formulating justified assumptions and arguments; generating a valid, defensiblemodel; presenting conclusions and recommendations resulting from analysis; and metacognitivereflective selfassessment to test and revise thinking. These elements can be carefully structured into adiscipline specific framework for critical thinking in engineering as well as organized into a rubric for theassessment of critical thinking skills.In this presentation we will review, compare and contrast popular models for critical thinking used inengineering (The CornellIllinois Model, the PaulElder Model and the CLA Holistic Model) and thecorresponding assessments for each model (The Cornell Level Z, the International Critical Thinking Testand the Collegiate Learning Assessment) with the critical thinking framework constructed from thecommon principles of MEAs and the MEA as an assessment instrument. Considerable discussion willinvolve examining the practicality, accuracy and sustainability of the assessment tools for evaluatingcritical thinking within the engineering discipline, providing a review of recent studies using theseassessments, and recent research by the authors. Also, we will discuss the suitability and alignment ofthe selected critical thinking models for instructional use in engineering. Lastly, the research team willdiscuss the advantages and disadvantages of using MEAs as a method for the consequent developmentand assessment of students’ critical thinking skills.
Kaupp, J. A., & Frank, B. M. (2014, June), Practical, Authentic and Sustainable Development and Assessment of Critical Thinking in Engineering through Model Eliciting Activities Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. https://peer.asee.org/22922
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