!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: A Museum-Based Critical Thinking Rubric

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Museum-Based Critical Thinking Rubric

An earlier post presented a rubric for critical and integrative thinking developed at Washington State University for college-level students.

As an illustration of the importance of taking the learning context into account when defining a critical thinking rubric, I've reproduced below (slightly edited) the rubric developed at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for their K-12 "Thinking Through Art" program (about which more in tomorrow's post).

Isabella Stewart Gardner
School Partnership Program
Critical Thinking Rubric

1.1 what something is or is not
1.2 action, what someone is doing
1.3 how it looks; sensory & physical aspects
1.4 features; what it's made of & how it's made
1.5 gallery or object label; reading posted info

2.1 the use or function of objects
2.2 implicit conditions, features, characteristics, feelings and emotions, mental states, status
2.3 identity (who people are, their relationships)
2.4 actions or intentions (what's going on, what people/animals are doing, what is about to happen; intention of artist, collector, or subject)

1.1 based on personal preference
1.2 based on perceived merits of the work or on artist's ability

Associating the object/situation directly with personal experience; making connections to prior knowledge or experience.

Problem-finding: student requests information or identification; notes missing information needed to form a conclusion/opinion; may propose a hypothesis.

Comparing what is similar or different; noticing relationships between situations/objects; noticing patterns.

Flexible thinking: remaining open to multiple possibilities; seeing things from different perspectives, revising thinking.

Providing evidence for assertions — an over-arching skill that can be applied to any use of the seven other critical thinking skills listed above. Two levels are defined:
  • Weak: Student attempts to support assertions, observations, or opinions; evidence is based in personal opinion or speculation rather than in the object, idea, or situation; uses unclear or unreasonable support for assertions, or uses completely circular logic; there is no attempt to express how s/he arrived at a conclusion, or s/he is unclear about how s/he arrived at a conclusion.

  • Strong: Student supports assertions, observations, or opinions with specific information and/or cues from the object, idea or situation; provides clear and reasonable support for assertions; may attempt to express how s/he arrived at a conclusion.
The original version of the rubric is posted here (pdf).


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