Construct Validity Examination of Critical Thinking Dispositions for Undergraduate Students in University Putra Malaysia

Article excerpt

Abstract

This research aims to evaluate the psychology properties of the construct validity for the Critical Thinking Disposition (CTD) instrument. The CTD instrument consists of 39 Likert-type items measuring seven dispositions, namely analyticity, open-mind, truth-seeking, systematicity, self-confidence inquisitiveness and maturity. The study involves 433 undergraduate students in University Putra Malaysia. The findings showed that the CTD has satisfactory construct validity with seven factors extracted and confirmed by confirmatory factor analyses. Construct validity results are supported with the Cronbach's alpha values which indicates high validity and reliability for the instrument to measure critical thinking dispositions.

Keywords: Construct validity, Confirmatory factor analysis, Critical thinking dispositions

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1. Introduction

In institutions of higher education, it is imperative for students to think critically as the content of education at this level requires higher order thinking such as the ability to apply critical evaluation, give evidence for their opinions, and argue the validity of facts they receive from teachers. However, it has been previously reported by (Norris, 1985) that critical thinking ability is not prevalent among students.

Fundamentally, a good thinker tends to possess certain qualities such as cognitive abilities, in addition to thinking strategies and skills. Essentially, what sets good critical thinkers apart is not simply the superior cognitive ability or particular skills they processes; it is rather their tendencies to explore, inquire, seek clarity coupled with their abilities to take intellectual risks, think critically and imaginatively.

In their argument, (Tishman et al., 1992) referred to these tendencies as "thinking dispositions". It has been strongly claimed by (Numrich, 2006) and (Brookfield, 2006) that being a good critical thinker, especially with respect to the importance of dispositions means having the right thinking dispositions.

In general, critical thinking is termed as a cognitive process, a purposeful self-regulatory judgment that has two components or skills, namely cognitive skills and motivation. The former stresses on interpretation, analysis, inference, evaluation, explanation and self-regulation, while the latter mainly refers to the disposition toward critical thinking. Being a good thinker means having certain sorts of critical and creative thinking abilities. Good critical thinking is associated with procession of intelligent thinking skills. Additionally, it is important to have motivations, attitudes, values and habits of mind which play key roles in good thinking, and in a large part they are those elements that determine whether people use their thinking skills when it counts.

The aim of this study is to validate the instrument that measures students' critical thinking dispositions. Specifically, the study attempts to answer the following research objectives: (1) to construct or validate the measurement scale of students' critical thinking dispositions using CTD instrument, in particularly, (2) to analyze the second-order factor of the CTD instrument, and (3) to examine the reliability of the instrument using Cronbach`s Alpha coefficient.

2. Literature Review

The roles of motivational dispositions as an essential component of critical thinking have been stressed by researchers studying critical thinking skills (Facione et. al., 2000). Facione, (Sanchez & Facione, 1994) perceived thinking disposition as a constellation of attitudes, intellectual virtues, and habits of mind. Furthermore, Facione, (Facione & Giancarlo, 2000) have described the overall critical thinking dispositions as the consistent internal motivation to engage problems and make decisions by using critical thinking.

In an attempt to explain key aspects of critical thinking dispositions, (Facione et al. …