What Is a Critical Thinking Rubric?

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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 05 December 2019
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A critical thinking rubric is a typical rubric that is commonly used by teachers to gauge a student’s critical thinking skills. There are many factors, and they differ from one critical thinking rubric to the next, but most of the factors are similar. Aside from assisting in scoring reports, these rubrics give teachers a standard by which to judge critical thinking and can help the teacher improve the entire class’s critical thinking abilities. The main problem of using this rubric is that it may be subjective according to the user and how he thinks the student has applied critical thinking.

Perhaps the most common people who use a critical thinking rubric are teachers. This primarily is used to judge how well a student has applied critical thinking to a report, and it can be used for scoring. Aside from reports, this also can be used for other projects or as a means to check how the student is doing outside of schoolwork. Other people may use this rubric to judge their own or other people’s critical thinking skills, but the rubric typically is made for teacher use.


When the critical thinking rubric is used, there are many factors that are used to create an overall score of a student’s critical thinking. These factors often are about how well the student took references in context, the student’s ability to explain situations or references, and the strength of the student’s thesis or theme. Depending on the rubric, each factor typically can be scored between 1 and 5, with 1 showing poor critical thinking.

Critical thinking often is considered a good quality that teachers try to foster in students, and a critical thinking rubric is able to assist with this. By observing students, or through judging class work, this rubric can be used to show the teacher the class’s average critical thinking power. From here, the teacher can attempt to improve critical thinking, if needed.

Just like most rubrics, there is one problem that affects the use of a critical thinking rubric: the teacher’s subjectivity. For example, one teacher may grade a student as a 3 for a certain factor, while another might grade the student at a 4. From how most rubrics are created, the problems should be minimal and teachers should give a similar average score, but the potential for this problem still is there. For this reason, teachers may have to attend seminars to understand what standards to apply when using a rubric.


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