How accurate the evaluation of someone’s critical thinking can be? There are loads of debates swirling around the ability to critically analyse the surroundings and the above mentioned question because the phenomenon is so abstract and individual that not a lot of educational institutions venture into assessing this skill … except for the ones in the UK.
What is GCSE Critical Thinking?
GCSE is a certification system that was implemented back in 1988 and overtook other assessment ways. And in 2009 it expanded up to critical thinking. There are 2 types of qualifications you can get by passing GCSE:
- Advanced Subsidiary GCE (introduction to critical thinking, basic concepts and principles of analysis)
- Advanced GCE (deeper understanding of critical analysis and evaluation, ability to form fully-featured arguments)
There is no strict sequence of taking the exams, you can freely start with the second one if you feel like it. The only thing is that prior to applying for courses you need to obtain a general educational level complying with National Curriculum Level 4. You are also advised to pass a GCSE on the English language with a minimum C score.
What Qualifications Are You Supposed to Have in Order to Pass?
Critical thinking consists of 2 main elements each of which bears a certain value for this skill. And these 2 components are at the centre of attention during the courses and the exams themselves. Let’s see what they are and which qualifications they are responsible for:
- Analysis of Reasoning – the ability to split the reasoning into separate parts, mark and categorise them, understand and explain the relationships between those parts. In the sphere of its influence there are a number of knowledge elements you need to have or acquire:
- Knowing different relevant terms like coherent, structure, opinion, challenge, assess, counter, etc.;
- Understanding the core difference between an argument and explanation, and situations when they can interlace;
- Being able to explain the meaning and purpose of analogy, general principles, intermediary conclusion.
- Evaluation of Reasoning – the ability to determine if the argument is weak or strong and identify the flaws as well as fortes. It is responsible for:
- Specifying the drawbacks of reasoning by applying the terms like conflation, slippery slope, confusing cause, post hoc, etc. as well as understanding the difference between them;
- Tracing appeals (means of emotional impact used as tools of persuasion) and categorising them according to their nature (history, authority, tradition, etc.);
- Being able to use statistics (research findings, surveys, etc.) to evaluate arguments and evidence;
- Analysing evidence, suggesting possible future outcomes and/or impact of further evidence, proposing conclusions.
These are the most important qualifications that you acquire during courses that are provided before certification. Of course, they are not all – for further research on the topic consult OCR.org.uk. But our article will give you a general idea what GCSE paper on critical thinking is all about. Weigh up the pros and cons, choose the level of a certificate and start preparing!