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  • Kleemola, Katri; Hyytinen, Heidi; Toom, Auli (2022)
    Critical thinking is a combination of complex cognitive skills that are used for purposeful thinking. It is important for the successful acquisition of disciplinary skills in higher education and thus, it is a valuable competency for a new student. The complex nature of critical thinking leads to challenges for its assessment even in performance assessments such as CLA+ International (Collegiate Learning Assessment). The aim with this study is to examine internal associations of a critical thinking assessment for new students in higher education. The sample consisted of 1469 first-year students in 18 higher education institutions in Finland. An open-ended performance task and multiple-choice tasks were used to assess six measures of critical thinking, namely analysis and problem solving, writing effectiveness, writing mechanics, scientific and quantitative reasoning, critical reading and critiquing an argument. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were used to analyse the data. A latent component indicated by the measures derived from the performance task was identified. The measures derived from the multiple-choice tasks did not form a factorial structure. Multiple-choice questions are problematic in critical thinking assessment as they focus on individual skills instead of holistic use of skills. Implications for assessment development and higher education are discussed.
  • Hyytinen, Heidi; Ursin, Jani; Silvennoinen, Kaisa; Kleemola, Katri; Toom, Auli (2021)
    Our aim was to explore higher education students’ response and self-regulatory processes plus the relationship between these, as evidenced in two types of performance-based critical thinking tasks included in the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA+) International instrument. The data collection consisted of 20 cognitive laboratories. The data were analyzed using a qualitative approach. The tasks were found to trigger different response and self-regulatory processes. Overall, the performance task evoked more holistic processes than the selected-response questions, in which students’ processes were more question-oriented. The results also indicated the entanglement of students’ response and self-regulation processes. Three self-regulation groups were identified. Students with versatile self-regulation skills were able to complete the task thoroughly, whereas students with moderate self-regulation skills faced challenges in monitoring and evaluating their performance. Students who were lacking in self-regulation struggled both with the task as a whole and their own progress. Implications for higher education are discussed.