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Assessment of critical thinking skills through reading comprehension

Journal: International Journal of Language Studies (Vol.8, No. 2)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 117-140

Keywords : Critical Thinking; Reading Comprehension Skills; Standardized English Tests; Classroom Teaching;

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The present study investigated the assumptions prevalent among educators in the Arab world that the teacher-centered model of classroom interaction that has dominated the Arab school educational scene for a long time has produced graduates with limited critical thinking and reasoning skills which are essential for functioning effectively in the modern world. To this end, the study has examined and analyzed the scores of 425 applicants to an English-medium university on the passage comprehension section of a standardized English language test. The study examined the results of the item analysis of the responses in order to assess the difference in scores on items testing basic comprehension skills and scores on items testing higher order skills. Results of the study showed that test-takers have done fairly well on the factual and relational comprehension items (those relating to recall, reference, and vocabulary in context) but had considerable difficulty with analytic and critical comprehension items (those relating to inference, tone, attitude, prediction, and evaluation). The study explains the findings within the context of the curricula and methods of teaching used in Lebanese schools and makes recommendations regarding the development of analytic, problem solving, and critical thinking skills.

Last modified: 2014-06-21 12:22:06