Critical-Thinking Dispositions Among Dietetic Interns at the Completion of their Internship

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Critical-thinking skills permeate the ability to pass tests such as the Certification Registration Examination for Dietitians (RD Exam) (Dietetic Educators of Practitioners, 2011). The impact of critical thinking on the RD Exam should be evaluated to assist faculty members when developing curriculum-especially as trends in dispositions emerge. Students training to be dietitians should be given opportunities to become aware of their critical-thinking dispositions in order to develop the necessary skills to pass the RD Exam and excel as a dietitian. Presented in this article, critical-thinking dispositions of 12 dietetic interns enrolled in their final semester prior to completion of an Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) accredited Dietetic Internship were measured using the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory (CCTDI). The CCTDI is a 75-item instrument using a 6-point Likert rating scale to generate a total score and seven subscale scores, one for each of the dispositions of truth-seeking, inquisitiveness, open-mindedness, confidence, analyticity, systematicity, and maturity. The 12 dietetic interns who completed the CCTDI were from three types of internships located in the Midwest. The average overall CCTDI score for the dietetic interns was 318. Only one scored 350 or higher, a level considered to indicate strength in critical-thinking disposition. No participants had scores under 280, disposition. Unfortunately, these results suggest that relatively few dietetic interns are entering the work force with strong critical-thinking dispositions. A table presented in the article summarizes results for dietetic interns for specific critical-thinking dispositions and provides the average score of all participants.


This article was published in Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences. Vol. 106, Number 2. (2014).