About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 9637-9641
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.2309

Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain

CRITICAL THINKING IN A BIOSCIENCE STUDENT POPULATION IN UK: QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE ASSESSMENT OF CRITICAL THINKING ABILITY (ACTA) SURVEY

A.A. Battaglia

King's College London (UNITED KINGDOM)
Critical thinking is a desire to seek, patience to doubt, fondness to meditate, slowness to assert, readiness to consider, carefulness to dispose and set in order; and hatred for every kind of imposture. Francis Bacon (1605)

Last year the first part of this study was presented by the author, whose aim is to explore Bioscience Undergraduate (UG) students’ perceptions and understanding of what critical thinking is. The rationale being a gap in the current and past literature on critical thinking (CT): a systematic review on the topic for my Master in Academic Practice in Higher Education. The aim is finding potential underlying reasons of why so many Higher Education (HE) students experience difficulty approaching the world of scientific knowledge with a critical attitude. In most science degrees critically analyzing and developing opinions are not fostered; very often students are mostly passive recipients of knowledge; moreover the importance of questioning in science is overlooked while students are constantly asked to answer questions in exams which require rote learning to give the ‘correct’ answer. Science education across many countries favour the ‘what we know’ compared to the ‘how we know’ . Students’ understanding of CT is important for many different reasons: 1) To understand our feedback they need to share with us the meaning of CT; 2) We can support them in developing CT once we know what it means for them; 3) If CT for the students is a grey area, we can improve our teaching of CT skills. This part of the study presents critical abilities tested in the Assessment of Critical Thinking Ability (ACTA) (Brian White, 2011) survey, which was answered by 159 3rd year UG students. This survey has been ideated, standardized and validated quite recently (White et al., 2011) and the justification for using it in my project comes from its application in the field of Science Education. The authors believed that the results obtained assessing students critical thinking skills with the ACTA survey could inform the science teaching community about the need to reduce teaching and assessment of factual scientific knowledge and increase supporting more scientific ways of reasoning.Critical skills tested in the ACTA survey, which have been proven to be fundamental in order to evaluate different lines of evidence are:
1) integrating studies presenting opposite/conflicting views; 2) designing experiments to resolve uncertainties and ambiguities; 3) imagining possible alternative interpretations to the causes of a Disease X. The survey is designed to generate quantitative data with 4 being the maximum overall score and the results were presented last year. Four questions out of eleven allow for open-ended answers: some of the 636 open-ended answers were also qualitatively evaluated and their analysis is presented this year. The analysis showed that the science undergraduate cohort of students participating in this research had a high level of difficulty designing experiments to resolve uncertainties and ambiguities in the studies presented to them. The result should prompt academics in the Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine to reflect on their teaching and encourage higher levels of enquiry-based teaching thus fostering critical and analytical skills in the student population. More time and resources should be used to develop better strategies aimed at forging intellectually strong and critically skilled graduates via more meaningful teaching and assessment.
@InProceedings{BATTAGLIA2018CRI,
author = {Battaglia, A.A.},
title = {CRITICAL THINKING IN A BIOSCIENCE STUDENT POPULATION IN UK: QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE ASSESSMENT OF CRITICAL THINKING ABILITY (ACTA) SURVEY},
series = {10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN18 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-02709-5},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2018.2309},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2018.2309},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Palma, Spain},
month = {2-4 July, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {9637-9641}}
TY - CONF
AU - A.A. Battaglia
TI - CRITICAL THINKING IN A BIOSCIENCE STUDENT POPULATION IN UK: QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE ASSESSMENT OF CRITICAL THINKING ABILITY (ACTA) SURVEY
SN - 978-84-09-02709-5/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2018.2309
PY - 2018
Y1 - 2-4 July, 2018
CI - Palma, Spain
JO - 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN18 Proceedings
SP - 9637
EP - 9641
ER -
A.A. Battaglia (2018) CRITICAL THINKING IN A BIOSCIENCE STUDENT POPULATION IN UK: QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE ASSESSMENT OF CRITICAL THINKING ABILITY (ACTA) SURVEY, EDULEARN18 Proceedings, pp. 9637-9641.
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