RESEARCH ON THE CRITICAL THINKING COMPETENCE OF UNDERGRADUATE CHEMISTRY STUDENTS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF BARCELONA
University of Barcelona, Faculty of Chemistry (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:Thinking in a critical way and adopting a critical point of view are abilities that have been proven to be fundamental in the progress of science and technology. However, academic evaluation along the Chemistry degree at the University of Barcelona reveals that most of the students are not used to think in a critical way. In fact, the grades obtained during the secondary education seem to be more indicative of the knowledge acquired than of the abilities developed.
In this sense, we looked for evidences about the level that students enrolled in the Chemistry degree have on the critical thinking competence. To achieve this goal, a test consisting on five exercises was designed and taken by the students at the beginning of the academic year 2016-17. With the object of having information about the evolution of this competence during the Chemistry studies (240 credits), the same test was taken by students from 1st to 4th year levels.
The analysis of the results showed that the critical thinking ability improved significantly as the students progressed in their undergraduate Chemistry studies. A positive correlation of the critical thinking competence with the average grade of the Chemistry studies was also observed. On the other hand, the students with the planned progression rate (60 credits/year) obtained also a slightly higher average score in the critical thinking competence than the students with lower progression rates (<= 60 credits/year).
Keywords: Critical thinking ability, academic progression rate, BSc in Chemistry, research project.