Speech-language pathologists use critical thinking on a daily basis to identify, evaluate, and implement evidence-based practices with their clients. Currently, however, there are minimal data describing the critical thinking of undergraduate students in the field of communication sciences and disorders. Without these data, it is unclear if and how students’ critical thinking differs at various points during their pre-service training. In the present study, we used the Cornell Critical Thinking Test – Level Z to describe the general critical thinking skills of 142 undergraduate students enrolled in two lower- (n = 95) and upper- (n = 47) level courses at a single university. We found no statistically significant differences between these two groups on the CCTT regarding their overall critical thinking performance (p = .068) or their skills of induction (p = .970), deduction (p = .160), observation (p = .384), assumptions (p = .342), or meaning interpretation (p = .155). Upper-level students, however, did consistently score slightly higher than their lower-level counterparts. Faculty should continue to develop undergraduate students’ critical thinking during their course of study. Although critical thinking appears to develop over the course of students’ undergraduate careers, formal instruction might be necessary to develop the skills necessary for successful practice as speech-language pathologists.
Rehfeld, David M.; Sulak, Tracey N.; Rainer, Deborah; Stewart, Janice; and Welch, Nadine
"A Pilot Investigation of Critical Thinking in Undergraduate Students of Communication Sciences and Disorders,"
Teaching and Learning in Communication Sciences & Disorders: Vol. 5
, Article 2.
Available at: https://ir.library.illinoisstate.edu/tlcsd/vol5/iss2/2