Perry, D.K., Retallick, M.S. & Paulsen, T.H. (2014). A Critical Thinking Benchmark for a Department of Agricultural Education and Studies. Journal of Agricultural Education, 55(5), 207-221. doi: 10.5032/jae.2014.05207
Due to an ever changing world where technology seemingly provides endless answers, today's higher education students must master a new skill set reflecting an emphasis on critical thinking, problem solving, and communications. The purpose of this study was to establish a departmental benchmark for critical thinking abilities of students majoring in agricultural education and studies. Seventy-five senior-level undergraduates completed a Critical Thinking Assessment Test (CAT) during the spring 2013 semester. A one-sample t-test utilizing national norm data and a step-wise regression model analyzing predictors of critical thinking ability were used to address research objectives. The only critical thinking skill area where participants' mean scores were statistically higher than the national norm mean score was in the ability to summarize a pattern of results from a graph without making inappropriate inferences. Further, step-wise regression for total critical thinking score revealed ACT score was the only significant predictor of overall critical thinking ability.