Barbara Gold, Edward North Professor of Classics, attended the annual meeting of the faculty advisory group for a multi-year grant from the Teagle Foundation. The grant is titled “Assessing Undergraduate Outcomes within Disciplinary Contexts: A Longitudinal Study of Critical Thinking and Post-formal Reasoning.”
The grant team has now finished three years of student surveys and data collection from students in Classics and Political Science at 13 colleges and universities across the U.S., including Hamilton.
The key research questions and purposes were:
- To examine the development of undergraduate student outcomes, specifically critical thinking (using information to find solutions to puzzles or problems with verifiable correct answers) and post-formal reasoning (making judgments about ill-structured problems that have no right or wrong answers), using a 3-year longitudinal design and instrumentation developed within two disciplinary frameworks: Classics and Political Science.
- To identify the extent to which critical thinking is better demonstrated and measured with instruments that attend to disciplinary content than with those that are “interdisciplinary” and designed to be administered to all undergraduates, irrespective of their major field of study.
- To examine the extent to which knowledge and skills developed within the major can be “transferred” to other contexts.
- To investigate the relationship between the development of critical thinking and post-formal reasoning during the college years.
Gold said the results will now be analyzed and then released and published.