Critical Thinking in Higher Education: Unfulfilled Expectations

Mehrdad Rezaee, Majid Farahian, Ali Morad Ahmadi


Success in adult life and effective functioning in education depends among other things on critical thinking. The present study consisted of two parts. First, critical thinking (CT) skill of a group of 68 students majoring in education in Islamic Azad University, Kermanshah Branch was evaluated. The participants, divided into two experimental and control groups, received California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST) which is a 34 item Multiple-Choice test. The students in the control group were freshmen and the experimental group, junior students. To the researchers’ dismay, junior education students did not perform significantly better than did the freshman students. Using a qualitative method of research, another study was conducted to see whether the university instructors in the education department who had the responsibility of teaching different courses to the same students were aware of the principles of CT. A semi-structured interview was conducted and eight volunteering faculty members in the department of education took part in the interview. Result revealed that, although these instructors highly valued CT and were aware of its tenets, there were some constraints which did provide a situation to let the students practice CT in their classrooms, and much had to be done to help instructors implement CT in their classrooms.


critical thinking, instructors’ belief, top down educational system, inductive reasoning

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