The Disposition Toward Critical Thinking: Its Character, Measurement, and Relationship to Critical Thinking Skill

Peter A. Facione


Theorists have hypothesized that skill in critical thinking is positively correlated with the consistent internal motivation to think and that specific critical thinking skills are matched with specific critical thinking dispositions. If true, these assumptions suggest that a skill-focused curriculum
would lead persons to be both willing and able to think. This essay presents a researchbased expert consensus definition of critical thinking, argues that human dispositions are neither hidden nor unknowable, describes a scientific process of developing conventional testing tools to measure cognitive skills and human dispositions, and summarizes recent empirical research findings that explore the possible relationship of critical thinking skill and the consistent internal motivation, or disposition, to use that skill. Empirical studies indicate that for all practical purposes the hypothesized correlations are not evident. It would appear that effective teaching must include strategies for building intellectual character rather than relying exclusively on strengthening cognitive skills


critical thinking, disposition, assessment, test development, CCTST, CCTDI

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ISSN: 0824-2577