Critical Thinking (CTI)

Most scholarly discussions emphasize critical thinking as the most vital twenty-first-century skill graduates need in the current job market. Along with creativity, collaboration, and communication, critical thinking is one of the four essential learning skills required for systematic and methodical problem-solving. Concerns raised by scholars about students’ inability to demonstrate critical thinking abilities have increased awareness and inquiries about students’ learning outcomes, such as critical thinking in higher education.

Dr. Alexa Lamm was one of the original developers of the Critical Thinking Inventory (CTI; formerly UFCTI). The instrument has been used in the U.S. extensively and has been translated into Spanish, French and Chinese. Recently Dr. Peng Lu, University of Georgia, worked with Dr. Lamm to test and confirm the efficacy of the instrument’s use in China. Their results can be found in an article published in the Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education here.

Despite critical thinking’s crucial role in addressing complex societal problems, and recent work conducted in this area, empirical evidence suggests it needs to receive additional research attention to be accepted as globally appropriate. Dr. Millicent Oyugi, Kristin Gibson, Dr. Alexa Lamm, and Dr. Kevan Lamm are currently striving to establish the CTI’s dimensional validity and reliability in other parts of the world including the Kenyan higher education system, through a collaboration with Egerton University, and in Nepal.

While the CTI has been widely and successfully used in the United States, its applicability in Sub-Saharan Africa is limited, particularly in Kenya. Kenya’s government is in the process of implementing Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC), a paradigm shift away from rote learning toward the development of critical thinking skills in learners. However, the Kenyan educational system has identified no standard, reliable, and valid instrument for assessing students’ critical thinking. The results from this research will inform policy regarding the ongoing implementation of CBC in Kenya associated with higher education training that will produce graduates who are readily adaptable to the global workforce.