National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version

Spring 2001


Published in the Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council 2:1, Spring/Summer 2001. Copyright © 2001 by the National Collegiate Honors Council.


Interest in critical thinking (CT) has increased dramatically in the past 25 years. This represents a growing awareness that high school and college graduates often do not have the necessary CT skills to meet the challenges of a changing world. Research shows that college students who take critical thinking courses report their ability to think critically has greatly improved (Block, 1985; Rubinstein, 1980; Rubinstein & Firstenberg, 1987). The preponderance of evidence from assessment studies using control groups indicates that "gains are most pronounced when instruction is specifically designed for the promotion of critical thinking. Critical thinking does not automatically result as a byproduct of standard instruction in a content area" (Halpern, 1996, p. 10).