A healthy civil society depends on citizens who have mature critical thinking skills and a willingness to entertain opposing points of view. The development of critical thinking in young adults has long been studied, but there has been little agreement on what the attributes of critical thinking are and how to reliably assess them. While many studies have attempted to assess the critical thinking abilities of college students, none have yet measured critical thinking through using the Critical Thinking Analytic Rubric (CTAR) to assess first-year college students' writing. This study used a modified version of the CTAR rubric to investigate students' critical thinking in writing completed for an American Heritage course. Four hypotheses were tested: (1) that raters would use the rubric with high inter-rater reliability estimates; (2) that there would be a significant relationship between the scores from the earlier holistic rubric used in the 2015 Hansen et al. study and the scores from the analytic rubric used in this study; (3) that there would be a significant relationship between analytic scores and ACT and GPA scores; (4) that there would be a significant relationship between essay score and gender. Findings included the following: (1) The inter-rater reliability for the overall scores of the papers was 0.898, which exceeds the 0.70 acceptable level. However, the inter-rater reliability for sub-scores was negative and required further investigation. (2) There was no significant relationship between the scores of the Hansen et al. study and this study. (3) There was no significant relationship between essay scores and ACT and GPA scores. (4) There was a significant relationship between essay scores and gender, with female students scoring higher than male students.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Soper, Shannon Bryn, "Evidences of Critical Thinking in the Writing of First-Year College Students" (2015). All Theses and Dissertations. 6171.
composition, assessment, critical thinking, first-year writing, scoring rubrics, analytic, rubric, BYU, American Heritage