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Boosting Creativity and Critical Thinking with ABCya Games for Kids

In today’s digital age, finding educational and engaging activities for kids can be a challenge. With the increasing popularity of online gaming, it is essential to provide children with options that not only entertain but also stimulate their minds. ABCya Games for Kids offers a wide range of interactive games designed to boost creativity and critical thinking skills in young learners. In this article, we will explore how these games can be a valuable tool in your child’s educational journey.

Enhancing Creativity through Interactive Gameplay

One of the key benefits of ABCya Games for Kids is their ability to enhance creativity in children. The platform offers a variety of games that encourage imaginative thinking and problem-solving. Whether it’s designing virtual worlds, creating artwork, or composing music, these games provide an outlet for kids to express their creativity in a fun and interactive way.

By engaging in activities that require creative thinking, children develop important skills such as brainstorming, innovation, and resourcefulness. They learn to think outside the box and explore different solutions to challenges presented within the games. This type of open-ended gameplay fosters creativity by allowing children to experiment with ideas without fear of failure or judgment.

Developing Critical Thinking Skills through Educational Challenges

In addition to nurturing creativity, ABCya Games for Kids also focus on developing critical thinking skills. Many of the games on the platform are designed with educational challenges that require strategic planning, logical reasoning, and problem-solving abilities.

These games often present players with puzzles or scenarios where they must analyze information, make informed decisions, and strategize accordingly. By engaging in these activities regularly, children develop essential cognitive skills such as analytical thinking, decision-making, spatial reasoning, and pattern recognition.

The platform offers games across various subjects like math, science, language arts, and more. This ensures that children are exposed to a wide range of educational content while honing their critical thinking abilities. The interactive nature of these games also makes learning more engaging and enjoyable for kids, encouraging them to actively participate and explore new concepts.

Encouraging Collaboration and Communication Skills

ABCya Games for Kids not only focus on individual learning but also promote collaboration and communication skills. Many of the games allow children to play with their peers or interact with online communities, fostering teamwork and social interaction.

Through multiplayer features, children can work together towards common goals, solve problems collectively, and exchange ideas. This collaborative environment encourages effective communication, empathy, and cooperation – skills that are vital in both academic and real-life settings.

Moreover, the platform provides a safe space for kids to interact with others online while under parental supervision. This ensures a controlled environment where children can practice positive communication skills while enjoying the benefits of a virtual community.

Personalized Learning Experience for Every Child

One of the significant advantages of ABCya Games for Kids is its ability to offer a personalized learning experience for every child. The platform provides various difficulty levels within each game, allowing kids to progress at their own pace.

By tailoring the gameplay to individual needs, children are challenged enough to stay engaged without feeling overwhelmed or bored. The adaptive nature of these games ensures that each child receives appropriate content based on their skill level and learning abilities.

Furthermore, ABCya Games for Kids offer detailed progress reports that allow parents and educators to track a child’s performance. These reports provide valuable insights into a child’s strengths and weaknesses in different subjects or areas of critical thinking. By analyzing this data, parents can identify areas requiring improvement and provide targeted support accordingly.

In conclusion, ABCya Games for Kids serve as an excellent resource for boosting creativity and critical thinking in young learners. Through interactive gameplay, educational challenges, collaboration opportunities, and personalized experiences, these games provide an engaging platform for children’s holistic development. By incorporating ABCya Games for Kids into your child’s educational routine, you are providing them with a valuable tool to enhance their cognitive skills and foster a love for learning.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


higher education and critical thinking

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Long-Term Professional Development Plan Six 2-day Workshops Over A Three Year Period, Or Develop a Plan Workshop-by-Workshop

Critical thinking is not an isolated goal unrelated to other important goals in education. Rather, it is a seminal goal which, done well, simultaneously facilitates a rainbow of other ends. It is best conceived, therefore, as the hub around which all other educational ends cluster. For example, as students learn to think more critically, they become more proficient at historical, scientific, and mathematical thinking. They develop skills, abilities, and values critical to success in everyday life. All of this assumes, of course, that those who teach have a solid grounding in critical thinking and in the teaching strategies essential to it.

But to develop a deep understanding of the foundations of critical thinking involves a long-term approach to learning and applying those foundations. James Stigler, coauthor of the book, The Teaching Gap: Best Ideas from the World’s Teachers for Improving Education in the Classroom , comments on the importance of long term staff development. He says, “professional development . . . should be long term. It should be ongoing – part of a faculty’s workweek — not something tacked on. And it should be curriculum based . . . so that it helps faculty help their students master the curriculum at a higher level.” Stigler goes on to say, “professional development has been largely divorced from practice . . . It has been haphazard . . . (involving) idiosyncratic kinds of professional development . . . not only do we need to implement high-quality programs, but we also need to give faculty the opportunity to learn how to participate in these programs. That’s going to take time.”

We agree. It is clear that there is no way to bring critical thinking successfully into instruction across the curriculum with a stand-alone one or two-day workshop. At best, a one or two-day workshop can do three things: 1) function to heighten the awareness of faculty to the challenge of bringing critical thinking substantively into instruction, 2) provide some strategies for up-grading the effectiveness of instruction, and 3) lay a foundation for follow-up workshops.

But a long-term approach to critical thinking professional development enables faculty to internalize and apply the fundamentals of critical thinking at a deep level. Through a long-term approach, faculty can restructure their courses so that students develop as inquisitive and disciplined thinkers and questioning minds. Its success depends on a number of variables. One develops as a critical thinker in a way similar to the way in which one learns to perform well in basketball, ballet, or on the piano. First of all, one must understand the basic principles. Secondly, one must regularly engage in self-monitored, self-evaluative practice (putting the principles to work in practice) progressively up-grading one’s understanding and skill thereby.

Faculty in a long range professional development program come to recognize explicitly that critical thinking is not just one of many divergent educational aims, but is rather a way of teaching and learning at a high level of effectiveness. They learn to use all other reform trends as a support for a high level of thinking in both the teaching and learning process. Commitment to critical thinking affects how one thinks through the design of instruction and how one thinks through the content one is learning. In short, over time instructors come to recognize that teaching in a critical manner is essential for:

  • skilled reading, writing, speaking, and listening
  • skilled reasoning within all subject areas
  • skilled decision-making and problem-solving
  • skilled analysis and evaluation of one’s emotions and values
  • intelligent choices in human relationships
  • skilled civic and personal choices, etc . . .

For specific professional development guidelines, see: A Professional Development Model for Colleges and Universities That Fosters Critical Thinking.

Content-Driven and Question-Driven Instruction Faculty in a long-term staff development program learn how to design content-driven instruction; that is, how to take what students are expected to know and be able to do and design instruction that empowers the students to think their way to this knowledge and ability. They learn how to make every class day question-driven and how to layer a variety of content standards into a unified unit of instruction.

Thinker’s Guides Help Build Faculty Knowledge Base A long-range staff development program can be enhanced by the use of our Thinker’s Guide library . These guides enable faculty to work together or individually to develop over an extended period of time. They help build the faculty knowledge base of critical thinking and instructional strategies. They demonstrate the practicality and comprehensiveness of the approach we recommend.

In planning staff development, you should begin with a session that lays the foundation for improvement in class instruction and for follow-up workshops. We introduce faculty to the basic components of critical thinking and ways to build those components into the design of what faculty teach, as well as ways to make that design effective. We help faculty design instruction, in the long run, so that students understand content as a system of logical relationships that can only be understood through active, inquisitive thinking.

Workshop Strands

We suggest that you follow-up the initial foundational workshop with a combination from the following workshop strands :

Foundational Workshop: An Introduction to the Fundamentals of Critical Thinking & the Art of Instruction

Critical Thinking and Socratic Questioning Critical Thinking and the Process of Assessment Critical Thinking, Socratic Questioning, & Assessment Critical Thinking & the Health Care Professions Critical Thinking and Writing Critical Thinking in the Social Studies & Disciplines Critical Thinking in the Arts & Humanities Critical Thinking in Science & Math Critical Thinking in the Professions Teaching Students to Think Theoretically & Empirically How To Teach Students To Ask Good Questions & Follow Out the Implications of Thought Critical Thinking in Elementary School Instruction How To Teach Students Intellectual Standards & Values Teaching Students to Enter, Analyze, and Evaluate Points of View Teaching For Emotional Intelligence Critical Thinking in Middle & High School Instruction Questioning Students and Teaching Students to Question Critical Thinking and the Affective Dimension: Fostering Rational Motivation in Students Analytic Reading and Writing as Modes of Thinking Ethics Without Indoctrination: Moral Reasoning Across the Curriculum Critical Thinking: The Role of Administration

Honorarium and Expenses - Schedule for Non-Profit Organizations

Professional development program costs vary depending on the presenter, number of days, and distance the presenter must travel. The honorarium rates for each presenter are listed below. These prices are for schools, colleges, universities and other non-profit organizations. Call us for small business, corporate, military and government rates.  Honorarium rates are in addition to travel costs and are subject to change.

For more information, contact Ms. Lisa Sabend at [email protected] or (707) 878-9100.

*Note: there may be an additional fee if the expected travel time exceeds reasonable limits based upon the travel distance.

For brief bios on our presenters, please click here:  Our Team of Presenters

For honorarium and availability for each presenter, please call our office or email Ms. Lisa Sabend at [email protected] .   Please visit our professional development pages for more information about our program:  K-12 ; Higher Education ;  Business .

General Information about our Inservice Programs

Number of Days : Professional development workshops can be scheduled for any number of days depending on purpose and need. We highly recommend that the initial inservice be at least two days and part of a long-term staff development program. In our experience faculty are far more successful at restructuring their coursework to teach for critical thinking when they participate in a long-term inservice program.

Times : 8:45-12:00 & 1:00-4:00 each day. Audience Size : Minimum: 10 Maximum: 500 Target Audience : instructors and administrators Prerequisite : A willingness to modify one's teaching practices, hence a willingness to establish new teaching habits. In most cases each teacher brings some of his or her own lessons or units to be used in practicing lesson remodeling.

Media and Room Set-Up : Tables that seat 4-6 people, overhead projector with large screen, blank transparencies and pens, lighting that does not obscure the overhead, warm and friendly environment. Arrange tables in a semi-circle around the presenter, keeping each table as close to the presenter as practical.  

Scheduling :

Please phone Ms. Lisa Sabend at 707-878-9100 or email [email protected]   to discuss our professional development programs, availability of dates and speakers, and honoraria. Please indicate whether you would like to discuss workshop design and content with one of our Fellows.

A study of critical thinking in higher education students

higher education and critical thinking

Revista Latinoamericana de Estudios Educativos (Colombia) , vol. 16 , núm. 2 , pp. 256-279 , 2020

Universidad de Caldas

higher education and critical thinking

Recepción: 08 Junio 2020

Aprobación: 30 Junio 2020

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17151/rlee.2020.16.2.13

Abstract: The study shows a proposal on specific diagnosis of critical thinking skills in higher education students according to literal, inferential and critical reading levels. A literature review on Critical thinking was done to support concepts. This proposal is adapted from the variables of the information obtained. One of the conclusions shows that the career profile is a determining factor in the result and that motivation and interest are outstanding in the reading and writing processes. Teaching students to evaluate their own processes and helping teachers to include critical readings in their curricula will help to develop effective skills associated with critical thinking. The general objective of the research project is to strengthen Critical Thinking and the argumentative capacity of the students of the schools of Administration, Health Sciences, Engineering and Architecture, Social Sciences, Humanities and Theology through strategies of reading and writing. A mixed methodology was used; the researches designed and administered 2 critical reading texts, each with 10 questions and organized in 3 reading levels (literal,inferential and critical), to 158 students; then, a data analysis on how students infer, interpret and analyze text content before they start a communicative course was done. The results show that according to the professional profile, some students are more argumentative that others and that students lack Critical Thinking skills.

Keywords: Critical thinking, Reading levels, Critical reading, ICFES, Nacional Ministry of Education.

Resumen: El estudio muestra una propuesta a partir de un diagnóstico específico de habilidades de pensamiento crítico en la educación superior en los estudiantes en función de los niveles de lectura literal, inferencial y crítica. Para apoyar los conceptos, se revisa la literatura en el pensamiento crítico. Además, se utilizó una metodología mixta, comenzando con la aplicación de la prueba de lectura, el análisis de datos sobre cómo los estudiantes infieren, interpretan y analizan el contenido de un texto antes de comenzar un curso comunicativo. La propuesta se adapta a partir de la información de variables obtenidas. Una de las conclusiones muestra que el perfil profesional es un factor determinante en el resultado y que la motivación y el interés son sobresalientes en el proceso de lectura y escritura. Del mismo modo, enseñar a los estudiantes cómo evaluar sus propios procesos y ayudar a los maestros a incluir lecturas críticas en sus planes de estudio ayudará a desarrollar habilidades efectivas asociadas con el pensamiento crítico. El objetivo general del proyecto de investigación es fortalecer el Pensamiento Crítico y la capacidad argumentativa de los estudiantes de las Facultades de Administración; Ciencias de la Salud; Ingeniería y arquitectura; Ciencias sociales, humanidades y teología a través de estrategias de lectura y escritura. Se utilizó una metodología mixta donde los investigadores diseñaron y evaluaron 2 textos de lectura crítica. Cada texto tiene 10 preguntas organizadas en 3 niveles de lectura (literal, inferir y crítico). Luego 158 estudiantes tomaron el examen y finalmente se obtuvieron datos de diferentes variables. Como resultado, es sorprendente que, de acuerdo con el perfil profesional, algunas carreras serán más argumentativas que otras. Algunas conclusiones evidencian la falta de pensamiento crítico entre los estudiantes.

Palabras clave: Critical thinking, Reading levels, Critical reading, ICFES, Nacional Ministry of Education.


There are various definitions around Critical thinking, authors have defined this concept based on studies associated to different contexts: “Critical thinking is a term that continues to manifest itself in many classrooms around the globe. While many institutional leaders are concerned about enhancing student learning outcomes, they also recognize the fundamental issues impacting this development.” ( Magno, 2010 , p.18). Critical thinking was also recently defined by the Association of American Colleges and Universities as ‘‘a habit of mind characterized by the comprehensive exploration of issues, ideas, artifacts, and events before accepting or formulating.” ( Liu, Frankel and Roohr, 2014 ). Liu, Mao, Frankel Xu (2018) explain that 2016 ), Critical thinking has been pictured as a ubiquitous skill for citizens to thrive in acknowledge society. It is also a skill that has received particular attention from higher education since 95% of the chief academic officers surveyed by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U, 2011) believe that critical thinking is one of the most important learning outcomes expected of their college graduates.

Critical thinking of students has become an interesting field of study. It is worth starting with the approaches of Bloom (1956) who made a taxonomy of the skills and characteristics of critical thinking, among them: Analyze, apply, understand, know, synthesize and evaluate. Raths et al. (1978) , a pioneer in developing the value clarification approach, believes this process helps people develop values “that represent the free and thoughtful choice of intelligent humans interacting with complex and changing environments.” In addition, this author says that the following are fundamental characteristics of this type of thinking: comparing, summarizing, observing, classifying, interpreting, organizing, supposing, imagining, gathering data, applying, formulating hypotheses, deciding, designing, investigating and coding. In other words, this is a posture of necessary actions that lead others to scientific thinking. Opinion or conclusion. ’ Benedict (2013) . Niu et al, cited in Halpern (2001) , affirm “critical thinking skills refer to the abilities to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information as well as the disposition to apply these abilities.”

This paper is the result of a research project about strengthening Critical Thinking in the UCM undergraduate students, supported by the Catholic University of Manizales (agreement 084 of June 26, 2018). The project is aligned with the National Ministry of Education of Colombia (MEN) that seeks for students to think critically, which occurs when they use their cognitive skills that increase the probability of a desirable outcome. ( Black 2005 ; Halpern 1998 ; Kuhn and Dean 2014 ; Nickerson 1994 ; Schroyens and Schaeken, 2005 ). It also considers the objectives of sustainable development, Goal 4: Quality Education: “the learners are able to use all opportunities for their own education throughout their life and to apply the acquired knowledge in everyday situations to promote sustainable development” ( UNESCO, 2017 , p.18). And as a subject matter inside the classroom “Critical thinking is a term that continues to manifest itself in many classrooms around the globe. While many institutional leaders are concerned about enhancing student learning outcomes, they also recognize the fundamental issues impacting this development.” ( Magno, 2010 , p.18).

Considering higher education concern about critical thinking development, the students who start at UCM are enrolled in real social, economic, and political meaningful situations, and they also start having difficulties when they have to use their critical thinking skills. Students exposure to different texts increase anxiety levels, therefore, it is mandatory to show a way to deal with them. How to support the development of critical thinking based on quality standards of higher education and social challenges? Domínguez (2018, p. 9) highlights the relevance of this type of study when he states that “Critical Thinking (CT) is pointed out as one of the main skills of the 21st Century to be promoted in Higher Education.”

The institution is also aware of the lack of competence in the reading process; the results of the national test Pruebas Saber Pro has also showed a low reading level among academic programs. This is not an exclusive concern of the Catholic University of Manizales, but one of all national and international universities. Cited by Rao, Cameron and Gaskin (2009) .

Besides, Institutions of higher education are increasingly aware of the need to assess core competencies so that graduating students are able to think and read critically, research and use information, analyze quantitative data, and write effectively and fluently. Accreditation requirements and the job market are placing greater importance on mastery of the core competencies of critical thinking, information literacy, critical reading, quantitative reasoning, and writing ( Breivik, 2005 ; Van Dusen, 1997 ).

The strategic platform supported by the Catholic University of Manizales states core 1: To be renowned as a diverse, inclusive and multicultural community, which contributes to a more just, supportive and fraternal society, objective 1.3 “to build capacities for a global performance.” All programs built critical thinking abilities which contribute to develop a better impact into a community and society. Evidences of this impact are exhibited at the university web page. UCM declares in its mission that “knowledge must have a high humanizing character in order to transform society and culture by educating and shaping new citizens and generating integral development in our people and their surroundings.” (Caicedo, 2020).

This paper aims at helping to show how current educational interventions and practices seek to promote skills in higher education students. There are also several findings around the barriers and about what is now important to improve college higher education. “Student requires constant interaction with the teacher/instructor to obtain everything necessary for their resolutions.” ( Rivas and Saiz, 2016 ). Being aware of the level of reading that each one possesses allows the strengthening of critical thinking.

The main objective is to demonstrate that strategies of reading and writing strengthen Critical Thinking and argumentative capacity of the students. It is fundamental that teachers help students enhance linguistic competence to guide them to use adequate rules and to use tools to argue and think critically. This paper will help teachers to change or improve curricula for literacy and to put into practice techniques oh how to develop CT skills. Mohd Zin, Bee and Rafik-Galea (2014) claim that it is important to foster critical thinking and reading skills among students. At the same time, it is also crucial to foster positive thinking and reading dispositions among the students as the results showed that they also lack the willingness or inclination to think and read critically.


Since research around Critical Thinking is predominantly qualitative ( Domínguez, 2018 ), this research includes a pragmatically mixed methodology. Literature articles were reviewed according to authority, topicality and relevance. Critical reading workshops were done and diagnostic tests were administered to 158 first-semester students from 6 undergraduate programs of the Catholic University of Manizales: Advertising, Architecture, Environmental Engineering, Nursing, Bacteriology, and Business Administration in Tourism.

Although 158 students began the university programs only 125 took the test. The students attended two sessions: the first part consisted of a reading and the second part was a diagnostic test. Table 2 shows the number of students who attended the workshop and the number of students who took the test.

Text revision and design in Critical thinking

Selection of text for diagnostic evaluation (2 texts-20 questions)

Two continuous texts were selected: the types corresponded to literary and journalistic level. Both texts were approved by communicative language teachers and analyzed in prior session with the students.

Based on the analysis of the test and the eventual redefinition of learning results, this research wants to emphasize the skills associated with the Critical Reading competence, reducing prevalence and prominence to the passive memorization of knowledge. ( DiCarlo, 2009 ). This is important because learning is not committing a set of facts to memory but the ability to use resources to find, evaluate, and use information. In fact, memorizing anything discourages deep thinking. Deep thinking is essential because understanding is the residue of thinking. To encourage thinking we must create a joy, an excitement, and a love for learning. We must make learning fun because if we are successful, our students will be impatient to run home, study, and consider to really learn.

Formulation of CT questions under the ICFES model

Model in CT reading ICFES parameter. SABER PRO tests

Administering the CT test

Questions from 1 to 10 were designed from the philosophical text known as Plato’s Myth of the Giges Ring. The test challenges, motivates and makes new students enjoy the university and the academic life. The answers require a mental exercise than implies considering hypotheses, contrasting solutions, pondering possible alternatives and making decisions. Beyond presenting a set of questions around a continuous text, the test seeks to have students interact as well as to challenge and involve them in a discussion based on hypothetical situations. Besides, using practical examples, argumentation as the foundation of all research work is encouraged ( Niu, Behar-Horenstein and Garvan, 2013 ).

Could it be that Google is turning this into us? The category of the text according to the ICFES classification corresponds to a continuous text of an informative-argumentative type. Questions 17-20 move students to the critical level, seeking their reflection on the text as an evaluation criterion of its content. It also evaluates the identification of assumptions, the derivation of implications, and the recognition of argumentative and rhetorical strategies. McKoon and Ratcliff (2018) . A decision-making model combined with tests of particular comprehension processes can lead to further understanding of reading skills. In addition, Critical thinking involves an interaction among cognitive skills, associated character traits, dispositions, and motivations. I call these and other aspects of critical thinkers “virtues of critical thinking” that lead them to the intellectual excellences of character, cultivated by people who tend to aim at making reasoned judgments about what to do or believe." ( Hamby, 2014 , p. 4).

Selection of type of questions

Each text included 10 multiple-choice questions classified in 3 levels: literal, inferential and critical. Those were aligned to the guidelines of the ICFES (2018). The performance level (according to the scale proposed by the ICFES, Levels 1, 2,3,4).

Measurement and analysis of CT based on PRUEBAS SABER PRO (2018)

Students placed in level 1, from 0 to 125, were able to identify elements of the text such as the theme, the structure, among others, as long as they appear explicitly. Therefore, students recognized the communicative intention of the author and answered specific questions about information provided in the text. Likewise, some linguistic and discursive resources that allowed to understand the local meaning of the statements could be identified.

Similarly, students in level 2, from 126 to 160, apart from having the skills described for students in level 1, recognized the macrostructure of the text; that is, they understood the global meaning from the cohesion elements that allow the coherence of the text, and identified textual typology, discursive strategies, and the functions of language to understand the meaning of the text.

Likewise, students in level 3, from 116 to 200, apart from having the skills described for students in levels 1 and 2, were able to go beyond the explicit information in the text and mastered the text comprehension strategies. In addition, they projected writing based on the information in the text.

Finally, students in level 4, from 201 to 300, apart from having the skills described for students in levels 1, 2 and 3, were able to value the global content of the text based on local elements, the relationships between them, and their position in a given context from a hypothetical perspective.

Selection of critical reading percentages based on ICFES-SABER-PRO TEST

Methodology summary


Finding and results

CT characterization

The results are showed based on program profile

General results from level performance

Performance levels were established according to ICFES criteria in order to complete the numerical score given to students. The fact that 22% of the students are different from this type of test is alarming. Likewise, 30% of the students evaluated had the lowest performance level. Table 10 shows the other data related to performance levels:

General Results

School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Theology


15 students from 18 took the diagnostic evaluation.


39% of Advertising students are in level 4: Critical readers; 39% are in level 3: inferential readers, 5% are literal readers, and 17 % did not take the test.

School of Administration

Tourism Management

21 from 21 Students took the diagnostic evaluation.

Tourism Management

23% of Tourism Management students are in level 4: Critical readers; 27% are in level 3: inferential readers, 35% are literal readers, and 15 % are low readers.

School of Health Sciences


Students who took the diagnostic evaluation 12 from 20.


19% of Bacteriology students are in level 4: Critical readers; 19% are in level 3: inferential readers, 29% are literal readers, and 33 % did not take the test.

Students who took the diagnostic evaluation 31 from 47 students.


19% of Nursing students are in level 4: Critical readers; 6% are in level 3: inferential readers, 41% are literal readers, and 34 % did not take the test.

School of Engineering and Architecture

Environmental Engineering

15 from 17 students took the diagnostic evaluation.

Level of Performance Environmental Engineering

18% of Environmental Engineering students are in level 4: Critical readers; 6% are in level 3: inferential readers, 41% are literal readers, and 12 % did not take the test.


31 from 35 Students who took the diagnostic evaluation.

Level of Performance Architecture

6% of Architecture students are in level 4: Critical readers; 20% are in level 3: inferential readers, 34% are literal readers and 11% did not take the test.

General views

From 100% of the population 25% are literal readers, 19% are inferential readers and 4% are critical readers. 30% of the students are at the lowest level of performance and 22% of the students did not take the test.

Level of Performance UCM overview

CT first place, 39% of Advertising students are in level 4: Critical readers: student’s profile has its essence on the personal growth of those who dare to defy creativity with critical thinking, communicative abilities, capacity to persuade, and spirit of research; people able to identify audiences and plan strategies to spread goods, services or an ideology through different media or connection points, all of these with the purpose of focusing on a planned action. There is a high sense of social responsibility and able to understand the dynamics of a globalized world and of an increasingly demanding consumer.

CT second place, 23% of Tourism Management students are in level 4: Critical readers; student’s profile scientific and humanistic rationale, also with strategic vision of management, with leadership skills, critical thinking and entrepreneurial spirit.

CT third place, Faculty of Health 19% of Bacteriology and Nursing students are in level 4: Critical readers; student’s profile human and professional quality, as well as for its contribution to the context in the scientific, academic and social fields. Professionals also recognize and respect interculturalism, beliefs, and the experiences of society, by promoting educational and developmental practices and processes intended to improve the life and health conditions of the community, the family and the individual.

CT fourth place, 18% of Environmental Engineering students are in level 4: Critical readers; student’s profile finds solutions to the environmental problems, which affect the population’s quality of life, through development, technological intervention, control, and prevention when natural resources are being used by society. These professionals are characterized for being socially responsible and able to respond to the environmental problems of the country.

CT fifth place, 6% of Architecture students are in level 4: Critical readers; Student’s profile transforms the territory to achieve a better quality of life. The architect mind makes it possible to have a constant evolution and innovation of the constructions, allowing the growth of the cities through creativity and design.

It is clear that students learn how to interpret and analyze a text considering their field of knowledge and the way they interact in their social group. People in particular communities learn how to read as they interact with and interpret texts within their culture and their social group ( Brandt, 2011 ). By first forming theories about reading, they later reinforce or reject them in acts of communication with texts and with others around text. In this way, learning is usually implicit and determined by both students’ literate heritage and by the values and norms of their target discourses. ( Kuzborska, 2015 ). The ethnographic study carried out by Jensen and Worth in 2014 states that interactions permit a deeper and more meaningful understanding of texts, there is success in providing the kind of critical interaction that captures students’ curiosity.

General overview advertising students

Thirty-nine percent of Advertising students are in level 4: Critical readers; 39% are in level 3: inferential readers, 5% are literal readers, and 17 % did not take the test.

Advertising right answers


ICFES items guide high educational to identify reading levels of difficulty such as low-medium-high, and also reading comprehension levels such as literal-inferential-critical and shows skills dimensions. It becomes an excellent tool of observing CT among students. This paper will help Faculties evaluate their academic programs in relation to reading quality and CT as well as the curriculum they offer on this matter. We expect to contributes to UCM continuous improvement plan 2018-2025. Ahumada and Sanchez (2019) claim that programs related to the quality of education and the curriculum they offer make decisions based on solid foundations to generate improvement actions and strengthen the skills that students need in order to meet the objectives of any institution and achieve educational quality.

Critical thinking abilities will be better developed in a student-centered class, where the learning process is prioritized. Text levels refers to a conscious and reflexive usage of thinking abilities in addition to the deployment and development of research, cooperative work and communication. As Franco, Sousa and Vieira (2019) mentioned a critical thinker will be willing and capable of asking questions, searching for more information, identifying credible sources and legitimate information, being open to question personal beliefs and cognitive bias, among many other dispositions and abilities, while thinking according to criteria based on precision and validity, and on the grounds of knowledge.

Critical thinking and creativity reinforce each other, when students read different texts, they need to understand and interpret first and then reflect upon it. If the text is not part of student’s interest, teachers need to be creative in order to involve a real critical thinking. Both promote conceptual richness, coherent organization and exploratory persistence. Students need to know what they learn is meaningful for daily life. In other words CT has a positive impact on academic performance, seeing that critical thinkers think more effectively, and are more motivated to use suitable learning strategies ( Halpern, 2014 ).

The career profile is a determining factor in the result and motivation and interests are outstanding in the reading and writing process. Similarly, teaching students how to evaluate their own processes and helping teachers how to include critical readings in their curricula will help to develop effective skills associated with critical thinking. The study of Huber and Kuncel (2016) demonstrated that college is already effective at fostering critical thought, sparing more resources to pursue other educational goals.

Reading into the future (2012), a competent reader for the 21st century will require a combination of knowledge, beliefs, abilities, and processes. It is crucial to expose students to different kind of texts and include techniques in order to motivate and passionate students towards reading. It is reinforced by Roohr, Olivera-Aguilar, Ling and Rikoon (2019) . Twenty-first century and higher-learning skills such as critical thinking are highly desired for new college graduates entering the workplace, especially with rapidly changing technology and a more globalized economy.

Different field of knowledge together reading a common text give opportunities to see the same situation from different perspectives, allowing tolerance and respect to each points of view. But, as Weston (2005) affirms, “it is necessary to guide students toward this objective”. In other words, students built their arguments in favor of different conclusions and they assess them to consider how strong they really are. After the diagnostic evaluation, the students’ perceptions about the results through open questions were that some teachers need to propose better reading activities toward critical thinking questions instead of asking for memorization. It shows the necessity of teachers training of how to develop CT activities. Black (2005) mentioned that, with few exceptions, teachers had muddled notions about critical thinking and little training developing their students thinking skills. This paper shows the necessity to improve a complete system of preparation regarding students as well as teachers. Bartlett (2017) can also be a threat leading educators to a narrow vision of reading education driven solely by performance data.

The analysis of results of the diagnostic evaluation contributes to implement actions among faculties in CT. Students loved when teachers give feedback to critical reading, exchange arguments and confirm data and theories. Gokcora and DePaulo (2018) find out in their pilot study on frequent quizzes and student improvement of reading, that frequent effective feedback is provided through formative assessment. Frequent quizzing is used both before lecture and after class sessions to improve students retention and motivation (McKenzie, 1973).

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Cómo citar: Loaiza, Y., Gil, G., David, F. (2020). A study of critical thinking in higher education students. Revista Latinoamericana de Estudios Educativos , 16 (2), 256-279. (pdf)

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Critical thinking

Advice and resources to help you develop your critical voice.

Developing critical thinking skills is essential to your success at University and beyond.  We all need to be critical thinkers to help us navigate our way through an information-rich world. 

Whatever your discipline, you will engage with a wide variety of sources of information and evidence.  You will develop the skills to make judgements about this evidence to form your own views and to present your views clearly.

One of the most common types of feedback received by students is that their work is ‘too descriptive’.  This usually means that they have just stated what others have said and have not reflected critically on the material.  They have not evaluated the evidence and constructed an argument.

What is critical thinking?

Critical thinking is the art of making clear, reasoned judgements based on interpreting, understanding, applying and synthesising evidence gathered from observation, reading and experimentation. Burns, T., & Sinfield, S. (2016)  Essential Study Skills: The Complete Guide to Success at University (4th ed.) London: SAGE, p94.

Being critical does not just mean finding fault.  It means assessing evidence from a variety of sources and making reasoned conclusions.  As a result of your analysis you may decide that a particular piece of evidence is not robust, or that you disagree with the conclusion, but you should be able to state why you have come to this view and incorporate this into a bigger picture of the literature.

Being critical goes beyond describing what you have heard in lectures or what you have read.  It involves synthesising, analysing and evaluating what you have learned to develop your own argument or position.

Critical thinking is important in all subjects and disciplines – in science and engineering, as well as the arts and humanities.  The types of evidence used to develop arguments may be very different but the processes and techniques are similar.  Critical thinking is required for both undergraduate and postgraduate levels of study.

What, where, when, who, why, how?

Purposeful reading can help with critical thinking because it encourages you to read actively rather than passively.  When you read, ask yourself questions about what you are reading and make notes to record your views.  Ask questions like:

  • What is the main point of this paper/ article/ paragraph/ report/ blog?
  • Who wrote it?
  • Why was it written?
  • When was it written?
  • Has the context changed since it was written?
  • Is the evidence presented robust?
  • How did the authors come to their conclusions?
  • Do you agree with the conclusions?
  • What does this add to our knowledge?
  • Why is it useful?

Our web page covering Reading at university includes a handout to help you develop your own critical reading form and a suggested reading notes record sheet.  These resources will help you record your thoughts after you read, which will help you to construct your argument.  

Reading at university

Developing an argument

Being a university student is about learning how to think, not what to think.  Critical thinking shapes your own values and attitudes through a process of deliberating, debating and persuasion.   Through developing your critical thinking you can move on from simply disagreeing to constructively assessing alternatives by building on doubts.

There are several key stages involved in developing your ideas and constructing an argument.  You might like to use a form to help you think about the features of critical thinking and to break down the stages of developing your argument.

Features of critical thinking (pdf)

Features of critical thinking (Word rtf)

Our webpage on Academic writing includes a useful handout ‘Building an argument as you go’.

Academic writing

You should also consider the language you will use to introduce a range of viewpoints and to evaluate the various sources of evidence.  This will help your reader to follow your argument.  To get you started, the University of Manchester's Academic Phrasebank has a useful section on Being Critical . 

Academic Phrasebank

Developing your critical thinking

Set yourself some tasks to help develop your critical thinking skills.  Discuss material presented in lectures or from resource lists with your peers.  Set up a critical reading group or use an online discussion forum.  Think about a point you would like to make during discussions in tutorials and be prepared to back up your argument with evidence.

For more suggestions:

Developing your critical thinking - ideas (pdf)

Developing your critical thinking - ideas (Word rtf)

Published guides

For further advice and more detailed resources please see the Critical Thinking section of our list of published Study skills guides.

Study skills guides  


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