Critical Thinking

What is Critical Thinking?

Critical Thinking is the analytical thinking which underlies all rational discourse and enquiry. It is characterised by a meticulous and rigorous approach. As an academic discipline, it is unique in that it explicitly focuses on the processes involved in being rational. These processes include:

  • Analysing arguments.
  • Judging the relevance and significance of information.
  • Evaluating claims, inferences, arguments and explanations.
  • Constructing clear and coherent arguments.
  • Forming well-reasoned judgments and decisions.

Being rational also requires an open-minded yet critical approach to one’s own thinking as well as that of others. The study of critical thinking equips students with reasoning skills to use in life, work and further academic study. It provides opportunities for candidates to think deeply, and in a structured way, about issues that are key to participating in society. It enables them to make reasoned decisions that are based on evidence and argument.

Departmental Achievements

Critical Thinking exists as an examination subject in its own right and we are very proud of the grades achieved by our students.

In 2015, 86% of students achieved A*-B grades at A Level.

In 2011, New Hall was awarded the Good Schools Guide Award for the best results achieved by girls for A Level Critical Thinking.

Transferable Skills

The most important benefits of Critical Thinking lie in how the skills are used in other areas, especially in the wider curriculum, in preparing students for higher education and in their later careers. Research conducted by Cambridge Assessment found evidence of a dramatic one-grade improvement in A Level performance for candidates who took Critical Thinking at AS Level. The results of 4,000 students were compared with the sample groups, having the same prior attainment, to ensure a fair comparison. Our belief, supported by this evidence, is that these reasoning skills can be developed and that the benefits can be seen in higher attainment across the curriculum.

Head of Department

Mr D Yates BA PGCE(Lanc)