Center for Instructional
Innovation and Assessment


Mark Bussell
Dawn Dietrich
Joyce Hammond
Mike Mana
Goals Contents
Mike Mana
Psychology 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 Mike Mana's teaching strategies meet each of these student learning outcome goals.

Critical Thinking

Learning Outcomes Definition Course Outcomes
Identification Accurately identifies and interprets evidence. The syllabus for Psychology 320 included a "literature shred" in which students learned to critically read primary research literature. In each "shred", students were expected to read and critically evaluate a primary research article that had been handed out a week earlier.
Alternative Consideration Considers major alternative points of view. In the course of their reading for the "literature shred" Psychology 320 students were instructed to consider the general phenomenon under study, the specific hypotheses of the work, the appropriateness of the experimental design, statistical analyses, and experimental techniques that were employed, the conclusions that were reached, the kinds of experiments that would logically follow, and what might have been done to improve the paper under consideration.
Accurate Conclusions Draws warranted, judicious, non-fallacious conclusions. Psychology 320 students prepared a poster based on an original research paper and then presented their poster to the other members of the class. The purpose of this assignment was to teach students how to extract the key elements from a research article, and then present this distillation to their peers in the form of a poster.
Justification Justifies key results and procedures, and explains assumptions and reasons. Students in Psychology 320 completed a mid-term paper and end-of-term poster, on a single topic. Integrating a midterm paper with the end-of-term poster provides a vehicle that facilitates each student's ability to gain both breadth and depth of knowledge in a favored area of physiological psychology, while developing technical writing and presentation skills that will be useful to future academic and nonacademic endeavors.

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.