INQUIRY is a peer-reviewed journal.
Send manuscripts to Frank Fair, Managing Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
INQUIRY Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines Vol. 30 No. 3 (Fall 2015)
Table of Contents
From the Editor's Desk
In this issue we are fortunate to have a very thoughtful and thought-provoking exchange about assessing the impact of critical thinking instruction. Many of us have been pleased when whatever instrument we have used to do the assessment shows that the students have made progress, but the question is seldom raised whether that progress is sufficient to justify the resources it takes to achieve it. In the opening article Don Hatcher raises that issue very pointedly, and, given the fact that Don had the experience of creating, managing, and assessing the long-running program in critical thinking instruction at Baker University, his concerns about this issue cannot be lightly dismissed. Hence, I invited my colleague, David Wright, to pose some challenging comments to Don, with the understanding that Don would have the last word. The result is one of those exchanges that—to my way of thinking—truly is a model of those critical thinking skills and attitudes we try to instill in our students. But don’t take my word for it, see for yourself.
The next article features an account of efforts to use one of the most widely respected CT assessment instruments, the Critical thinking Assessment Test developed at Tennessee Tech, as a tool to aid in “designing better course assessments to grade student work.” The authors describe the development of “CAT Apps” and encourage institutions to use a “community-based approach to CAT App development.” Thus the CAT becomes a tool that promotes a faculty development focus on improving critical thinking skills.
The third piece in this issue takes us into the field of evidence-based dentistry (EBD). The authors describe an exercise that is to provide an occasion for first-year dental students to apply the principles of EBD and critical thinking to a simulated office sales call by a dental pharmaceutical representative. Among other things, the students were expected to use the PICO model (Patient, Intervention, Comparison, and Outcome) to formulate questions that “facilitate the search for evidence.” The point of using the simulated office sales call as a prompt for the exercise was, naturally, to expose the students to situations they will face in their dental practices and to motivate them to apply the principles of EBD and critical thinking that the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) asserts in its Standard 2-9 “graduates must be competent in the use of critical thinking and problem-solving, including their use in the comprehensive care of patients, scientific inquiry and research methodology.”
Finally, Michael Lively gives us an essay on “Critical Thinking and the Pedagogy of Music Theory.” I am personally very glad that he chose to send us this essay because it makes it clear one way that critical thinking is relevant to the arts and arts education. It helps the journal live up to its claim to cover “critical thinking across the disciplines.
Professor of Philosophy
Department of Psychology and Philosophy
Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, TX 77341-2447