Schools still have a responsibility for building students' content knowledge.
However, I would argue that students don't need to wait to think critically until after they have mastered some arbitrary amount of knowledge.
However, we recognized both the importance and the challenge of gathering reliable data to confirm this.
With this in mind, we have developed a series of short performance tasks around novel discipline-neutral contexts in which students can apply the constructs of thinking.
By using this structure with a chart that can be added to throughout the year, students see the routines as broadly applicable across disciplines and are able to refine their application over time.
Assessing Critical Thinking Skills By defining specific constructs of critical thinking and building thinking routines that support their implementation in classrooms, we have operated under the assumption that students are developing skills that they will be able to transfer to other settings.
First, there are those that argue that critical thinking can only exist when students have a vast fund of knowledge.
Meaning that a student cannot think critically if they don't have something substantive about which to think. Students do need a robust foundation of core content knowledge to effectively think critically.
They can start building critical thinking skills when they walk in the door.
All students come to school with experience and knowledge which they can immediately think critically about.