A society with poor critical thinking skills: The case for ‘argument’ in education

The Huffington Post reports that researchers have shown that most students today are weak in critical thinking skills. They do poorly on simple logical reasoning tests. Only a fraction of graduating high school seniors (6 percent of 12th graders) can make informed, critical judgments about written text. This problem applies to both reading and writing. Only 15 percent of 12th graders demonstrate the proficiency to write well-organized essays that consisted of clear arguments. Critical thinking and argument skills — the abilities to both generate and critique arguments — are crucial elements in decision-making. When applied to academic settings, argumentation may promote the long-term understanding and retention of course content…

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