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J Nurs Educ. 1996 Jan;35(1):5-11.

Issues in measuring critical thinking: meeting the challenge.

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Northern Illinois University School of Nursing, DeKalb 60115-2894, USA.


Recent changes in NLN criteria for accreditation highlight the need to measure growth in critical thinking (CT). Choosing the most appropriate methods to measure CT within a specific nursing program poses significant challenges for nurse educators. This article explores major issues in measuring critical thinking, including: a) developing a clear definition of this concept, b) matching the definition to program goals, c) using value-added assessment and d) deciding between norm versus criterion-referenced methods. Detailed discussion focuses on decisions that must be made regarding instrument selection. Issues such as reliability and validity of measures, sensitivity of test scores to expected growth, the importance of matching methods to program CT definition, and the need for adequate resources are described. Strengths and weaknesses of commercial instruments that measure critical thinking, as well as the alternative techniques of portfolios and performance assessment, are reviewed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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