A Critical and Integrative Thinking RubricTo help people improve their critical thinking skills, one can use a rubric such as that posted by Washington State University.
In the summary below (slightly edited to fit the business setting), seven objectives for exercising critical thinking are listed. For each objective, an emerging, developing, and mastery level of performance is described.
A manager helping an employee work toward mastery of critical thinking skills can use the descriptions of the three levels to clarify what changes the employee must make in order to fully achieve each of the objectives.
Washington State U Critical Thinking Rubric
Objective:Identifies and accurately summarizes the problem, question, or issue.
Emerging: Does not attempt to, or fails to, identify and summarize accurately.
Developing: Summarizes the issue, though some aspects are incorrect or confused. Nuances and key details are missing or glossed over.
Mastery: Clearly identifies the challenge and subsidiary, embedded, or implicit aspects of the issue. Identifies integral relationships essential to analyzing the issue.
Objective: Identifies and considers the influence of context and assumptions. [Contexts to consider: cultural/social (group, national, ethnic behaviors and attitudes), scientific, educational, economic, technological, ethical, political (organizational, governmental), personal experience.]
Emerging: Approach to the issue is in egocentric or sociocentric terms. Does not relate the issue to other contexts. Analysis is grounded in absolutes, with little acknowledgment of own biases. Does not recognize context or identify assumptions and underlying ethical implications, or does so superficially.
Developing: Presents and explores relevant contexts and assumptions regarding the issue, although in a limited way. Analysis includes some outside verification, but primarily relies on established authorities. Provides some recognition of context and consideration of assumptions and their implications.
Mastery: Analyzes the issue with a clear sense of scope and context, including an assessment of the audience. Considers other integral contexts. Analysis acknowledges complexity and bias of vantage and values, although may elect to hold to bias in context. Identifies influence of context and questions assumptions, addressing ethical dimensions underlying the issues.
Objective: Develops, presents, and communicates own perspective, hypothesis, or position.
Emerging: Position or hypothesis is clearly inherited or adopted with little original consideration. Addresses a single source or view of
the argument, failing to clarify the established position relative to own position. Fails to present and justify own opinion or hypothesis. Position or hypothesis is unclear or simplistic.
Developing: Position includes some original thinking that acknowledges, refutes, synthesizes, or extends other assertions, although some aspects may have been merely adopted. Presents own position or hypothesis, though inconsistently. Presents and justifies own position without addressing other views, or does so superficially. Position or hypothesis is generally clear, although gaps may exist.
Mastery: Position demonstrates ownership for constructing knowledge or framing original questions, integrating objective analysis and intuition. Appropriately identifies own position on the issue, drawing support from experience, and information derived from sources that go beyond those immediately available. Clearly presents and justifies own view or hypothesis while qualifying or integrating contrary views or interpretations. Position or hypothesis demonstrates sophisticated, integrative thought and is developed clearly throughout.
Objective:Presents, assesses, and analyzes appropriate supporting data and evidence.
Emerging: No evidence of search, selection, or source evaluation skills. Repeats information provided without question or dismisses evidence without adequate justification. Does not distinguish among fact, opinion, and value judgments. Conflates cause and correlation; presents evidence and ideas out of sequence. Data, evidence, and sources are simplistic, inappropriate, or not related to the topic.
Developing: Demonstrates adequate skill in searching, selecting, and evaluating sources to meet the information need. Use of evidence is qualified and selective. Discerns fact from opinion and may recognize bias in evidence, although attribution is inappropriate. Distinguishes causality from correlation, though presentation may be flawed. Appropriate data, evidence, and sources are provided, although exploration appears to have been routine.
Mastery: Evidence of search, selection, and source evaluation skills; notable identification of uniquely salient resources. Examines evidence and its source; questions its accuracy, relevance, and completeness. Demonstrates understanding of how facts shape but may not confirm opinion. Recognizes bias, including selection bias. Correlations are distinct from causal relationships between and among ideas. Sequence of presentation reflects clear organization of ideas, subordinating for importance and impact. Information need is clearly defined
and integrated to meet and exceed task requirements.
Objective: Integrates the issue using other perspectives and positions.
Emerging: Deals with a single perspective and fails to discuss others’ perspectives. Adopts a single idea or limited ideas with little question. If more than one idea is presented, alternatives are not integrated. Engages ideas that are obvious or agreeable. Avoids challenging or discomforting ideas. Treats other positions superficially or misrepresents them. Little integration of perspectives and
little or no evidence of attending to others’ views. No evidence of reflection or self-assessment.
Developing: Begins to relate alternative views to qualify analysis. Rough integration of multiple viewpoints and comparison of ideas or perspectives. Ideas are investigated and integrated, but in a limited way. Engages challenging ideas tentatively or in ways that overstate the conflict. May dismiss alternative views hastily. Analysis of other positions is thoughtful and mostly accurate. Acknowledges and integrates different ways of knowing. Some evidence of reflection and/or self-assessment.
Mastery: Addresses others’ perspectives and additional diverse perspectives drawn from outside information to qualify the analysis. Fully integrated perspectives from a variety of sources; any analogies are used effectively. Integrates own and others’ ideas in a complex process of judgment and justification. Clearly justifies own view while respecting views of others. Analysis of other positions is accurate, nuanced, and respectful. Integrates different disciplinary ways of knowing. Evidence of reflection and self-assessment.
Objective: Identifies and assesses conclusions, implications, and consequences.
Emerging: Fails to identify conclusions, implications, and consequences, or conclusion is a simplistic summary. Conclusions presented as absolute, and may attribute conclusion to external authority.
Developing: Conclusions consider or provide evidence of consequences extending beyond a single discipline or issue. Presents implications that may impact other people or issues. Presents conclusions as relative and
only loosely related to consequences. Implications may include vague reference to conclusions.
Mastery: Identifies, discusses, and extends conclusions, implications, and consequences. Considers context, assumptions, data, and evidence. Qualifies own assertions with balance. Conclusions are qualified as the best
available evidence within the context. Consequences are considered and integrated. Implications are clearly developed, and consider ambiguities.
Objective: Communicates effectively.
Emerging: In many places, language obscures meaning. Grammar, syntax, or other errors are distracting or repeated. Little evidence of proofreading. Style is inconsistent or inappropriate. Work is unfocused and poorly
organized; lacks logical connection of ideas. Format is absent, inconsistent or distracting. Few sources are cited or used correctly.
Developing: In general, language does not interfere with communication. Errors are not distracting or frequent, although there may be some problems with more difficult aspects of style and voice. Basic organization is apparent; transitions connect ideas, although they may be mechanical. Format is appropriate although at times inconsistent. Most sources are cited and used correctly.
Mastery: Language clearly and effectively communicates ideas. Errors are minimal. Style is appropriate for audience. Organization is clear; transitions between ideas enhance presentation. Consistent use of appropriate format. Few problems with other components of presentation. All sources are cited and used correctly, demonstrating understanding of economic, legal and social issues involved with the use of information.