ERIC Number: ED297280
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Jul
Reference Count: 0
Controlling for Background Beliefs When Developing Multiple-Choice Critical Thinking Tests. Technical Report No. 429.
Norris, Stephen P.
The problems of validity and fairness involved in multiple-choice critical thinking tests can be lessened by using verbal reports of examinees' thinking during the process of developing such tests in order to retain only those items which rely on critical thinking skills to obtain the correct answer. Multiple-choice testing can lead to unfair treatment of students, but disqualifying these tests can result in less powerful assessments of critical thinking. Differences in background beliefs can lead to invalid and unfair assessments of critical thinking ability using these tests. A methodology to lessen these problems was developed using high school students taking trial versions of exams and thinking aloud as they took the test. The examinees' verbal reports were analyzed for critical thinking skills and assigned a numerical score. A high correlation between critical thinking scores and performance scores represents a high correspondence between thinking critically and choosing the correct answer. Items with a low correlation were revised. Although only a brief sketch of this methodology could be presented in this paper, the relevance of verbal reports of thinking to test construction has been suggested by several testing specialists. Using verbal reports may be time consuming, but the ideal of critical thinking is worth the effort. Otherwise, only the worn-out and educationally indefensible emphasis on memorization of factual information, rote recall, and pat answers is left. (Twenty-eight references are appended.) (RS)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Ottawa (Ontario).
Authoring Institution: Illinois Univ., Urbana. Center for the Study of Reading.; Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Inc., Cambridge, MA.
Note: For related document, see CS 009 233.