Validating crtical thinking
Findings of the pilot study showed that out of initial 55 administered items, only 30 items with relatively good difficulty index () ranged within 0.20–1.00 were selected.
Consequently, teaching critical thinking skills is growing more important as students need to adjust to such change by actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication (Paul and Elder ).Ennis () presented a review on critical thinking tests and found that no critical thinking tests were developed with the primary purpose to assess critical thinking in a subject matter area.Most of the developed critical thinking tests such as California Critical Thinking Skills Test (Facione ) were mostly general-content-based tests.From the above results, the selected 30-item TSCT was found to have sufficient reliability and validity and would therefore represent a useful tool for measuring critical thinking ability among fifth graders in primary science.Advances in Science and Technology have improved communication, health care, agriculture, educational environment and lifestyle.By engaging students in critical thinking from the elementary levels, science educators can lay the foundation for proficient and ethical consumers of scientific change (Gunn et al. However, there is little evidence that tests are being used to assess children’ critical thinking in science.
Much of the difficulty lies in the lack of tests to assess children’s critical thinking in primary school science classrooms.
Another study by Gunn () found that expository comprehension text of science was significantly improved when university students were asked to create critical thinking questions regarding the heart disease text using the six generic question stems.
Research evidence has indicated the importance of critical thinking in science lessons and infusing critical thinking should start at the elementary levels.
Students were engaged to apply critical thinking skills to analyze information by sequencing, categorizing, identifying cause-and-effect relationships, comparing and contrasting, finding the main idea, and drawing conclusions.
Moreover, the Malaysian Ministry of Education has included these skills as components of critical thinking skills to be applied in all Curriculum Standard for Primary Schools (Curriculum Development Division In relation to this, the Science critical thinking test developed is based on improved Swartz’s thinking framework that focusses only on comparing and contrasting, sequencing, and identifying cause and effect to the Analysing idea component of ).
Data were obtained from a purposive sampling of 30 fifth graders in a pilot study carried out in a primary school in Sabah, Malaysia.