Center for Instructional
Innovation and Assessment


Thor Hansen
Tim Pilgrim
Matthew Roelofs
Linda Smeins
Goals Contents
Linda Smeins
Department of Art

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 tag's teaching strategies meet each of these student learning outcome goals.

Critical Thinking

Learning Outcomes Definition Course Outcomes
Identification Accurately identifies and interprets evidence. Students interpret visual evidence and information on websites by (1) identifying those visual forms (art works, buildings, etc.) and points of information already learned in class, (2) identifying additional or alternative information and visual forms among the sites, (3) recognizing the relationships between the images and the text by asking whether the visual and textual information work together to provide a more comprehensive and convincing thesis and argument, and (4) recognizing the selectivity of information in visual/textual presentations by noting types of information that could have been presented in this context but were not.
Alternative Consideration Considers major alternative points of view. Following identification, students develop critical thinking skills by using theoretical frameworks learned in class to evaluate the website author's selection of information about a topic and the conclusions drawn from that information. By evaluating several websites, students explore alternative approaches to writing history and types of questions asked about people, places, art and cultural values. Class group discussion works toward recognizing contemporary social perspectives that lead to differing questions and conclusions about the past.
Accurate Conclusions Draws warranted, judicious, non-fallacious conclusions. Students study social situations and the important role that visual forms take in representing societal beliefs, attitudes and values. They develop the means to recognize relationships between visual forms, written and spoken words, and social practices, which leads to analyzing how a combination of visual forms and words may tap into several beliefs about self and society and propose new conclusions for the viewer/reader (as in today's advertising).
Justification Justifies key results and procedures, and explains assumptions and reasons. Justification becomes an active process when students apply critical thinking strategies with in-class rapid response questions and web-board discussion groups. The in-class questions prompt immediate thoughts, while the web-board discussions provide an opportunity for explaining reasons and exposing assumptions upon which the immediate thoughts were based. When students take objective examinations, they write justifications for their incorrect answers by using evidence to pose an alternative and arguable conclusion for each examination question that did not require a memorizable 'fact'.


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