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Promoting Critical Thinking Skills Through Effective Grading Techniques

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.817.1 - 6.817.8



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Julia Morse

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3147

Promoting Critical Thinking Skills Through Effective Grading Techniques Julia Morse University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Walvoord and Anderson have demonstrated that “effective grading” techniques can be applied to promote and teach higher-level critical thinking skills in the classroom. Effective grading involves the appropriate structuring and communication of course assignments and grading systems which promote desired learning behaviors. Grading and assignment techniques which force the student’s first exposure and reflection of the material “off-line,” prior to classroom discussion, enable classroom interaction to leap beyond the dissemination of factual information and into the higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy: application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Immediate feedback provided by in-class instructor-student interaction allow the instructor to guide and train students in the practice of critical-thinking at the “teachable moment” and prior to its exercise on major assignments or exams.

This paper provides examples of the application of effective grading techniques to promote higher-level critical thinking within the engineering technology classroom and suggests techniques and technologies which can be applied to overcoming barriers to these strategies.

I. Introduction

Common approaches to the promotion of critical thinking involve the application of “active learning” in the classroom and writing assignments outside the classroom.

Schrivner1 has cited the difficulty in motivating students to participate, noting the importance of setting an expectation of participation in classroom dialog. Another common frustration is the difficulty in finding time to move class room time beyond the first few levels of course material introduction and application while still fitting all the desired topics into the course.

Writing assignments have gained popularity as a means of allowing students to practice their critical thinking skills. This resurgence is due in part to the Writing-Across-the-Curriculum (WAC) movement. WAC theorizes that in the process of writing, students practice better thinking skills.2 Agrawal3 and Sharp4 are among some of the engineering educators who have Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Morse, J. (2001, June), Promoting Critical Thinking Skills Through Effective Grading Techniques Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9693

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