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Critical thinking and problem-solving encompasses the broadly applicable skills we teach students to formulate claims and solve problems from across the disciplines. In teaching these skills to students, we find that it is important to define, teach, and assess these skills explicitly:
- We define the skills for students and teachers alike, utilizing rubrics that articulate a continuum of growth from beginner to exemplary.
- We teach these concepts through thinking routines that explicitly name concrete steps students use in approaching tasks across disciplines.
- To assess, we have developed aligned performance tasks that teachers can use to determine students’ abilities to transfer their use of the thinking routines in novel settings.
Defining Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
Critical thinking and problem-solving are 21st century skills that are broadly applicable across all content areas, allowing students to wrestle with and make meaning of complex, real-world questions. At Two Rivers, we’ve developed rubrics for core components of critical thinking: effective reasoning; decision-making; and problem solving.
Teaching Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
At Two Rivers, we teach students to employ thinking routines as they are working through authentic, real-life tasks.
Assessing Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
To assess whether students are employing critical thinking and problem-solving skills in novel situations and contexts, we have designed short performance tasks that target each of our constructs of critical thinking and problem solving.