The purpose of this study is to determine the change in students’ levels of critical thinking (CT) through comparing the results of second- and fourth-year students. The study also investigates the factors that are statistically significant in explaining the change, if any, in students’ CT. In doing that, the study determines whether or not the use of assessment criteria that encourage CT influences or triggers any change in students’ CT. The study employs mixed methods, combining quantitative methods with qualitative ones. Quantitative data were collected using the California CT Skills Test in order to investigate the change in students’ levels of CT. Quantitative data were complemented with reflective judgment interviews, which were used to obtain more in-depth responses from the students. The study finds that the levels of students’ CT increased from 0 percent in year two to 18 percent in year four. The qualitative research revealed very good performance for fourth-year students in interpretation, evaluation, inference, self-regulation and recognition of their own biases. It also showed minimal reliance on religious texts in discussing gender equality. Variables such as school GPA, non-Egyptian high school degree, and independent learning were found statistically significant to higher levels of CT. Despite its pilot nature, this study provides some insight into the levels of CT in private political science programs in Egypt while investigating the most or least statistically significant variables. Identifying the most statistically significant variables informs researchers, practitioners, and education policy makers about what to prioritize for better CT among students.
Khodary, Y. (2020). How Much Difference Can We Make? Assessing the Change in Students’ Critical Thinking in a Private Political Science Program in Egypt. Journal of College Reading and Learning, 1-26.