(38 Pages) Facione, PA, Facione, NC, and Giancarlo (Gittens), CA.(2000). Informal Logic, Volume 20, Number 1, pp 61-84. [This PDF download file is being made available here with the permission of the journal editor / publisher.]
Abstract: Theorists have hypothesized that skill in critical thinking is positively correlated with the consistent internal motivation to think; and, moreover, that specific critical thinking skills are matched with specific critical thinking dispositions. If true, these assumptions suggest that a skill-focused curriculum would lead persons to be both willing and able to think. New instruments to measure critical thinking skills and critical thinking dispositions permit empirical investigation of these theoretical assumptions. Empirical studies of 10th graders, accounting professionals, nursing professionals, and college students at multiple sites indicate that for all practical purposes the hypothesized correlations are not evident. This essay presents a research-based expert consensus definition of critical thinking, argues that human dispositions are neither hidden nor unknowable, describes a scientific process of developing conventional testing tools to measure cognitive skills and human dispositions, and summarizes recent empirical research findings that explore the possible relationship of critical thinking skill and the consistent internal motivation, or disposition, to use that skill. Given the empirical results to date, it would appear that an effective approach to teaching for and about thinking in schools and professional development programs must include strategies for building intellectual character rather than relying exclusively on strengthening cognitive skills. Keywords: critical thinking, disposition, assessment, test development, CCTST, CCTDI.