Critical thinking skills and reflective judgment development: Redefining the aims of higher education

Mary M. Brabeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Educators who agree that critical thinking and intellectual development are appropriate aims of higher education do not always agree on what constitutes good thinking. This study examined the relationship between two constructs that attempt to describe that aim: critical thinking as defined by the Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal and a stage model of adolescent and adult intellectual development described as reflective judgment. In a 2 × 4 design, 119 women students at four educational levels were matched on high and low extremes of critical thinking scores and were compared on the basis of their scores on the Reflective Judgment Interview. The results indicate: (a) a significant main effect for educational level: students at higher educational levels achieved higher scores on the reflective judgment measure; (b) a main effect for critical thinking: high critical thinking subjects out-performed low critical thinking subjects on the Reflective Judgment Interview; and (c) while low critical thinking subjects were homogeneously low in reflective judgment levels, high critical thinking subjects had significantly greater variability of Reflective Judgment Interview scores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-34
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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