Military Review English Edition November-December 2015 - Page 121

CRITICAL THINKING Halpern Criticial Thinking Assessment percentile rank thinking skills: verbal reasoning, argument analysis, toward it.”17 Student reactions to training were collectand thinking as hypothesis testing (this test also ed through anonymous online surveys. These enabled served as a posttest in level 2). The pretest accommanagers to continuously refine the program to keep plished numerous objectives. students challenged but not overwhelmed. First, the pretest enabled training managers to Training assessment level 2: learning. identify incoming students’ individual and collective According to Kirkpatrick, assessing the learning is strengths and weaknesses. Then, they could customize important because unless students have gained some the instruction to meet their precise learning needs. new knowledge, skills, or attitudes, there will be no Next, it enabled trainers to empower those inchange of behavior on the job.18 coming students who had already mastered parThe faculty assessed students’ learning in two ticular subskills to assist in teaching. This practice ways. First, they used a posttest based on the extended the learning environment to include times HCTA, which students would take during their and locations beyond the classroom, such as in the final week of training. As illustrated in figure 2, dining facilities and student lodging. Informal peerthe students in the 2013 and 2014 cycles increased to-peer teaching accelerated the learning for many their average critical thinking composite scores by students during training and facilitated graduates’ 18 percent, from the 71st percentile on the pretest continued learning when deployed. In addition, the 100 pretest provided a baseline from which 87.31 student learning 84.11 84.33 80 throughout the 73.67 training program 71.43 70.17 could subsequently 60 61.37 be measured. 56.33 Finally, it provided learners with an enhanced self-aware40 ness. Many of the incoming students who most needed critical 20 thinking instruction arrived feeling confident in their critical 0 thinking skills. For CTc VR AA ThHT them, the pretest was an invaluable means Ctc = Critical thinking composite score to ignite their desire Posttest to learn.16 VR = Verbal reasoning score Training assessAA = Argument analysis score ment level 1: reacPretest ThHT = Thinking as hypothesis testing tion. According to Kirkpatrick, “if training is to be effective, it is important that Figure 2. Student Gains in Critical Thinking Scores trainees react favorably during Fiscal Years 2013 and 2014 MILITARY REVIEW  November-December 2015 115