Assessing critical thinking in business education: key issues and practical solutions

Brown Bag Research Series

Online via Zoom

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Developing critical thinking is an important goal in higher education and the same applies, more importantly, to business education. Particularly for FBE programs, critical thinking is one of the most important skills espoused in both the Bachelor of Commerce, masters and PhD programs. Critical thinking is also a skill most important for employers, regulation agencies and professional accreditation bodies that influence the design and delivery of business programs. In this presentation, Valerie and Angelito will present their recent work in assessing critical thinking in business education by using a sample of reports from masters students in FBE. They developed a framework on critical thinking based on a definition by Facione (1990) and the critical thinking dispositions and abilities proposed by Ennis (2015). Using content analysis, they reveal four issues and challenges associated with students’ development of critical thinking. They will present some of the implications for higher education and offer some suggestions to incorporate in business education to address the issues and challenges raised. This was a novel approach to highlight specific dimensions of critical thinking where students struggle the most and what FBE academics could do to support students in developing critical thinking skills and showcase those skills in written assignments.


Dr Valerie Cotronei-Baird, Learning and Teaching Specialist, WCLA. Valerie is a leader in the provision of learning and teaching advice. In her role she is primarily involved in working with academic teaching staff in the skill acquisition required to innovate teaching and assessment practices. Valerie’s research includes: the integration of employability skills in the business curriculum, the professional development of academic teaching staff, assessment and assessment criteria and feedback, engaging students in the classroom, collaborative learning and team-based assignments and online delivery.

Dr Angelito Calma is a Senior Lecturer in Higher at the Williams Centre for Learning Advancement. His research interests overlap higher education and business. In recent years, he has been interested in business students’ development of skills critical to graduates and the workplace. He also publishes work on quality assurance in higher education such as topics associated with business accreditation, assessment of outcomes and quality enhancements. He has published in both higher education and business and management journals.