Preparing to look for critical thinking in the work of your students

Preparing to look for critical thinking in the work of your students

Preparing to look for critical thinking in the work of your students


Reflect whether and how you might use the following taxonomy when marking the work of your students. Remember, an essential part of assessment is ensuring that students understand what is required of them.

Kember et al (2008 Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education 33.4 369 – 379) present a four category schema for coding and assessing the level of reflection in written work. Effectively, this presents a protocol that can be used to assess student work as being in one four categories, viz.:

Non-reflective

  • The work shows no evidence of any attempt to reach an understanding of the concept or theory which underpins the subject matter
  • Material has been placed without the author demonstrating that he / she has tried to interpret it
  • The piece is largely a reproduction, with or without adaptation, of the work of others.


Showing Basic Understanding

  • Evidence of understanding of a concept or topic is present
  • Material is confined to theory (or largely so)
  • The material predominantly relies on description of an event or on what has already been published
  • Theory is not related to personal experience


Showing Reflection

  • Theory is applied to practical situations
  • Situations encountered in practice are considered and discussed in relationship to the topic under discussion. There will be personal insights which go beyond “book theory”.


Showing Critical Reflection

  • Evidence of a change in perspective over a fundamental belief of a key concept or phenomenon is presented
  • (Critical Reflection is unlikely to occur frequently)

[Intermediate categories are permitted]


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