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Assessment for Librarians: Ch. 2: Assessing Skill in Analysis and Critical Thinking

Using Grids to Assess Critical Thinking & Analytical Skills

Assessment techniques that visualize students’ analytical strengths and weaknesses can help students and instructors stay on class during a one-shot. The examples here are of a content, form & function grid and a defining features matrix that students can fill in as they search, or afterwards. If you use these for a one-shot, you should collaborate with the course instructor to prepare ahead of time as necessary, by reading, searching, or doing other homework (Bowles-Terry 27). 

Content, Form & Function Grid. Useful for in-class search exercises, or as a guide to evaluating search results after class.

Defining Features Matrix. Useful for highlighting differences between difficult-to-distinguish concepts, such as the difference between primary & secondary sources or popular & scholarly sources. Could be used as a quick assessment before and after a lesson.



Using Think/Write Pair Share to Assess Critical Thinking & Analytical Skills

“Think-pair-share asks students to respond to a question, first individually and then in small & large groups…(however) it is important that students have background knowledge on a topic, through either a shared reading, an activity, or a lecture”” (Bowles-Terry and Kvenild 32). 

Think-Pair-Share. “Think-pair-share can provide a snapshot for the librarian of where students are at with their thinking” (34). The example below is from a series of questions created by Linda Blake, Science Librarian at West Virginia University Libraries.*

Think-Write Pair Share. This was used as a think pair share at a recent LOEX session, then these were collected and mailed to participants (if they wanted to do that). I like the idea of doing something like this for a faculty or graduate students session. Might not be appropriate for undergraduates.

Acknowledgment & Thanks

Many thanks to Linda Blake, Science Librarian at West Virginia University Libraries, shared the scenario with the ACRL Framework listserv on May 17, 2016.