ERIC Number: ED316892
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Sep-1
Reference Count: N/A
Reflective Judgment in Debate: Or, The End of "Critical Thinking" as the Goal of Educational Debate.
Dowling, Ralph E.
Recurring pressures for fiscal restraint threaten the existence of educational programs, such as competitive debate, which are not publicly perceived to produce worthwhile outcomes. Since debate is misunderstood and expensive, its advocates must be prepared to provide solid evidence of its benefits. Unfortunately, methodological weaknesses in debate research have prevented the accumulation of such evidence. The atheoretical nature of the critical thinking concept, particularly as measured in existing debate studies, exacerbates this problem. The critical thinking measure now used, the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal (WGCTA) offers a limited range of scores for assessing college students' critical thinking abilities, and the choice of behavior measured is not grounded in any particular theoretical formulation of human cognition. A promising new approach from the field of cognitive development--the reflective judgment model--provides an alternative that may remedy these deficiencies and secure a promising future for debate in higher education. The model has a clear foundation in cognitive developmental theory, philosophy, definitions, and theorization, and has been validated by a growing body of empirical data. It suggests that the skills it measures (which resemble those practiced in academic debate) are teachable. The model deals with problem-solving skills most useful to the real world and which develop in late adolescence and young adulthood--the age of interest to debate educators. (A 44-item bibliography is attached.) (SG)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal