"The California critical thinking instruments for benchmarking, program assessment, and directing curricular change"
Phillips, Charles R.
Chesnut, Renae J.
Rospond, Raylene M.
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Objectives. To assess pharmacy students’ critical thinking (CT) measures and identify areas for curricular reform. Methods. Pharmacy students were given the California Critical Thinking Skills Test and Disposition Index at various points in the PharmD program. Scores were compared with a national referent group and evaluated for changes across the curriculum and between classes. Results. Students were comparable to national norms. Pretest and posttest scores for total disposition showed improvement. Scores in all subcategories except for truth-seeking were consistently above 40. The CT skills of the pharmacy students varied compared with those of referent students, but the pharmacy students’ overall score of 18 was in the 73rd percentile. Pre- and post-skills scores showed improvement. Students scoring low on the pretest improved more than those scoring high. Conclusions. Students had a consistent disposition towards CT and compared favorably to national norms. Both disposition and skills improved across the curriculum. Dimensions of critical thinking on which students score low should be areas for curricular and other program changes.
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