Critical Thinking

The Critical Thinking Outcome in General Education: An Overview

The critical thinking outcome adopted by Valencia College faculty members (December 2017) states: students will be able to effectively analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and apply information and ideas from diverse sources and disciplines. In a review of the assessment work led by faculty members since 2002 three indicators emerged in common across the disciplines, asking that students address: 1) use of evidence; 2) bias; and 3) context. These three indicators are defined in this way by faculty members in the Gen Ed Checklist for assessing student artifacts:

Across all of the State colleges it has been specified that "each general education core course option must contain high-level academic and critical thinking skills and common compencies that students must demonstrate to successfully complete the course". (House Bill 7135 Florida Statute 1007.25 General education courses, common prerequisites, other degree requirements.)

Video - The Intellectual Standards:

An Introduction by Gary Meegan

This is a two-minute tutorial on The Intellectual Standards in critical thinking. The information in the video is based on the work of Richard Paul and Linda Elder. For an in depth look at the Intellectual Standards and The Elements of Thought go to: (Published on Apr 2, 2014 / 3.32 minutes.)
Critical Thinking

 Intellectual Standards for Students at Valencia

This handout outlines the “intellectual standards” for analytic thinking and it includes a one-page related set of guiding questions for students to use when reading an article, essay, or chapter in your class.  One or both of these pages may be useful in your course as we seek to create a shared understanding related to what students are learning and the ways we are discussing the “Critical Thinking” outcome that spans General Education. (Note that the video above can also be shown to students). This is excerpted from the book which is available through the related Faculty Development courses or can be purchased online.  Paul, R. & Elder, L. (2010). The thinker’s guide to analytic thinking. Dillon Beach, CA: Foundation for Critical Thinking Press.

Researching Regarding ways to teach the skills needed for critical thinking

  • Evidence in the research literature regarding the positive impact of embeddinritical thinking skills across disciplines. These passages were excerpted for discussion from…. Pascarella, E. T., &Terenzini, RT. (2005).How College Affects Students, Volume 2, A Third. Decade of Research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • A research-based overview of interventions shown to impact critical thinking skills. Abrami PC, Bernard RM, Borokhovski E, Wadem A, Surkes M A, Tamim R, Zhang D. 2008. Instructional interventions affecting critical thinking skills and dispositions: A stage 1 meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research. 78:1102-1134.

Critical Thinking & Gen Ed + Multiple Choice Question & Essay Question Workshops 10/10/2014

Dr. Steven Downing's Presentation
Creative Effective Multiple-Choice Items / Designing Items to Test Critical Thinking
Multiple-Choice Questions Sample

Dr. Laura Blasi's Presentation
 Essay Question Workshop
 Handout 1;  Handout 2;  Handout 3;  Handout 4

Drs. Karen Borglum and Laura Blasi's Presentation
 General Education - Critical Thinking and Assessment

Ethical Responsibility

Information Literacy

Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy (TATIL)

Campus Leaders:

Courtney Moore
Diane Dalrymple

Winter Park
Ben Mittag

Osceola and Lake Nona
Karene Best

Regina Seguin

Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy (TATIL)

Campus Leaders:

Courtney Moore
Diane Dalrymple

Winter Park
Ben Mittag

Osceola and Lake Nona
Karene Best

Regina Seguin


What is the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy (TATIL)?

The TATIL is a 4-module assessment tool that measures the information literacy abilities of students. It is specifically designed to address the threshold concepts introduced in the Association of College and Research Libraries' (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy.

TATIL Modules:
Evaluating Process and Authority
Strategic Searching
Research and Scholarship
The Value of Information
For more information, visit:

Where can I find more information about Valencia's Information Literacy Assessment Pilot?
Please visit:

What should I do if I am interested in participating?

Please visit:
Or contact your campus leader:

Where will students take the test?

Faculty participating in the pilot may book a computer room by contacting a librarian. A librarian will also be present to proctor the test. In addition, students can be given a link to take the test off campus at their convenience. This option allows students the flexibility to break the testing period up into smaller sections.

How soon will I get the results?

Test results for the Fall should be available in early Spring 2016.

When is the test offered?

The 4 modules are being released at different times throughout the 2015-16 year. The release time frame is as follows:

Evaluating Process & Authority Now Available
Strategic Searching Now Available
Research & Scholarship Upcoming
The Value of Information Upcoming

What are the benefits of participating in this pilot?
Often times, instructors get to see the final product of a paper or speech but not the process the student took to complete the assignment. The TATIL will allow us to peek behind the curtain and gain new insight into how our students find, use, and interact with information. As a result, instructors will have guidance on how to teach to students' unique information needs.

Additionally, the TATIL can help refine assignments by highlighting areas in the research process where students may struggle. Instructors would then have more guidance about the type of assignments, sources, and documentation to include for coursework.

Do students have to take the test in one sitting?
While completing the test in one sitting is preferable, students may reopen an uncompleted test.

What if a student misses the test date? Will there be a makeup day?
Each module will be administered over a short period of time. Arrangements can be made for students who might have missed a class session to either test with another class or get an individual student key to take the test on their own.

What is ACRL's Framework for Information Literacy?
ACRL's Framework outlines 6 foundational concepts that information literate students should be able to understand and demonstrate. The Framework is a product of collaboration among librarians, faculty, information professionals, and other affiliated parties in order to address the complexities of the current information ecosystem.

The six concepts are as follows:
Authority is Constructed and Contextual
Information Creation as a Process
Information has Value
Research as Inquiry
Scholarship as Conversation
Searching as Strategic Exploration

For more information, visit:

Will the TATIL be offered every year?
Future offerings of the TATIL are dependent upon our pilot results of the test.

What do questions on the TATIL look like?
The TATIL is composed of multiple choice questions that highlight the critical thinking process and skills needed in information literacy.

Will results for individual students be available?
No. The TATIL will report on student results as a cohort.

Can online students participate in the pilot?
Yes. Please contact a member of the pilot's committee for further information.

What is Project Standardized Assessment of Information Literacy Skills (SAILS)?
The Project for Standardized Assessment of Information Literacy Skills (SAILS) is a Kent State University initiative to develop an instrument for standardized assessment of information literacy skills. From the outset, they envisioned a standardized tool that is valid and reliable; contains items not specific to a particular institution or library but rather assesses at an institutional level; is easily administered; and provides for both external and internal benchmarking. With such a tool, we will have the ability to measure information literacy skills, gather national data, provide norms, and compare information literacy measures with other indicators of student achievement.

They applied systematic instructional design to develop the test questions, using item response theory (IRT) as the measurement model, and thus created a bank of test questions of varying difficulty levels to measure information literacy. The test items are based on the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. Use of these standards maximizes the ability of the instrument to be used by a wide variety of academic institutions for internal and external benchmarking.

Beginning in 2001, Project SAILS brought together a team of experts in librarianship, test design and measurement, data analysis, and programming, with a three-year research and development phase involving more than 80 higher education institutions in the U.S. and Canada culminated in 2006 in the production version of the SAILS test of information literacy skill.

For more information, visit: