CRITICAL THINKING OUTCOME ASSESSMENT IN A FIRST YEAR DEGREE COURSE

“Critical thinking” is one of the outcomes that must be included in the programs of university degrees according to governmental regulations and accreditation agencies. This outcome is included in the Biotechnology program in Universitat Politècnica de València (Spain). The subject “General Genetics” is taught in the first year of this degree. The outcome “critical thinking” must be trained and assessed in this subject. The subject is organized in three blocks. The activity designed to train and assess this outcome has been tested with a group of 115 students. Instructors selected nine papers, mainly news or divulgation articles, three related to each of the blocks of the subject. Each student had to make a critical comment of three of the papers, one for each of the blocks, previously assigned by the instructor. The critical comment was directed, meaning that a short guide was available for the students with the questions to be answered in the comment. A rubric was designed to assess the outcome and was explained to the students. The results obtained are discussed with the objective of improving the activity for future years.