Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Donald W. Good

Committee Members

Pamela H. Scott, James H. Lampley, Cecil N. Blankenship


For a number of years the educational community has recognized the importance of teaching critical thinking skills to all students; however, a shift in educational pedagogy and philosophy has occurred. Through recent legislation the funding of educational institutions that demonstrate competencies and gains from standardized test scores has been mandated. Although performance measurement regarding the effectiveness of learning environments is useful, students must learn critical thinking skills to compete globally, problem solve effectively, self-actualize, preserve democracy, and promote human rights. The relationship between content and critical thinking presents a unique challenge in American education. This study examined the shift in focus from critical thinking to standards-based assessment in American education and focused on data garnered and analyzed from The California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST).

The purpose of this study was to determine if there were differences in the 5 dimensions of critical thinking based on colleges and gender based upon 1,455 graduating seniors for the 2009-2010 academic year on the (CCTST). This study used descriptive and inferential statistics to analyze data.

In this quantitative study, data from the (CCTST) were gathered and distributed to the researcher for compilation and statistical analysis. Findings from this study indicate that gender and major college of study significantly influence the means on the dimensions of the CCTST. This study provides information regarding critical thinking skills in a higher education setting and is useful for higher education practitioners in facilitating the development of critical thinking skills. The results of this study add to the body of knowledge regarding critical thinking.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.