Assessment of Critical Thinking Abilities Acquired by Senior Secondary School Chemistry Students

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Okafor, N
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Faculty of Education, University of Lagos, Akoka, Nigeria.
This paper examines the critical thinking abilities and competence levels acquired by senior secondary school (SS) 1, 2 and 3 chemistry students in solving daily problems. The survey uses two research questions with a sample of 135 chemistry students randomly selected from three secondary schools in Education District IV of Lagos State. Criteria for Assessing Critical Thinking Ability in Chemistry (CACTAC) and Three Levels Scoring Rubric (TLSR) were the instruments used in data collection. Data were analyzed using mean, bar chart and TLSR. The results show gaps among each of these academic levels on the three abilities tested such that Abilities 1, 2 and 3 scores for SS 3 participants are significantly higher than the Abilities 1, 2 and 3 scores for SS 1 and SS 2 participants. This pattern is not observed with the SS 1 participants because there was not much difference between its Ability 2 score and that of SS 2. In addition, SS2 participants out-performed SSI participants in Abilities I and 3 scores. Result analysis on competence levels shows that not much difference is observed with SS 1 and SS 2 participants on Abilities 1 and 2. Their levels of competence in chemistry when matched on the scoring rubric indicate inadequate critical thinking ability at levels 1 and 2 (<59% and <_60%), respectively. Each level of critical thinking ability on the scoring rubric suggests that certain abilities are more difficult to acquire than others. The study recommends that since not all the chemistry students have the ability to think critically at the same rate, teachers should apply suitable instructional methods that would take care of individual differences. The study concludes that critical thinking abilities do not develop spontaneously but need to be continuously assessed during teaching so that the chemistry teacher can easily observe if the criteria for assessing the skills require further clarification and also students can test their understanding of the criteria as to give feedback when necessary.
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competence levels , secondary school , chemistry students , critical thinking ability , Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Education
Okafor, N. (2012). Assessment of critical thinking abilities acquired by senior secondary school chemistry students. International Journal of Multicultural Education (IJME. 6. 51-62. A Publication of the Faculty of Education, University of Lagos, Akoka, Nigeria.