Center for Instructional
Innovation and Assessment


Mark Bussell
Dawn Dietrich
Joyce Hammond
Mike Mana
Goals Contents
Mark Bussell
Chemistry Department

Institutional Goals

Listed below are selected learning outcomes in the area of critical thinking that Western Washington University is actively integrating into its curriculum. Each learning outcome is listed with its definition, along with a description of how Mark Bussell's teaching strategies meet each of these student learning outcome goals.

Critical Thinking

Learning Outcomes Definition Course Outcomes
Identification Accurately identifies and interprets evidence. Based upon the overall research plan and consultation with Dr. Bussell, students design and carry out experiments to collect data. Students analyze their data, correlate results and formulate hypotheses. Students learn to use these hypotheses to guide future experimentation and analysis.
Alternative Consideration Considers major alternative points of view. Students participate in a thorough review of the scientific literature to identify articles related to our studies. Students learn to compare their hypotheses and experimental results with those of these related studies. Controlling for different experimental approaches, the merits of differing hypotheses and experimental results are weighed.
Accurate Conclusions Draws warranted, judicious, non-fallacious conclusions. In consultation with Dr. Bussell, students refine their research strategy and further develop an experimental plan to resolve ambiguous findings and to clarify differences with literature reports. When we are confident of our results, students participate in the development and dissemination of our research conclusions.
Justification Justifies key results and procedures, and explains assumptions and reasons. In preparing quarterly reports, making poster and oral presentations, and contributing to the writing of manuscripts for submission to peer-reviewed journals, students scrutinize their experimental methodology, data, results, hypotheses and conclusions. Feedback from Dr. Bussell and from researchers in the field provides students opportunities to explain the scientific underpinning of the research program.

Source: Adapted from the California Academic Press's Holistic Critical Thinking Scoring Rubric (HCTSR).

Adapted from Western Washington University's Learning Outcomes for Writing II.