TC² @ 25
Focus for This Month
Success Stories
Next Steps
Media Release
TC² @ 25
Focus for This Month
Success Stories
Next Steps
Media Release

Assessment and Critical Thinking: Paired at the Hip


Mireille Bazin-Berryman and team

Developing assessment that is both consistent and authentic can be a challenge. Here at Ecole Lorette Immersion, our school’s Grade 7/8 teaching team kick-started that effort by creating a student-friendly rubric using the criteria for critical thinking developed by The Critical Thinking Consortium (TC²). After introducing the rubric to students, the team discovered that useful assessment and critical thinking are intimately connected.


Intriguing us with problematized questions

Our journey with TC² began in May of 2018, when we spent half a day in a TC² workshop learning how problematized questions can help create a thinking classroom. We all jumped on board with this idea—we were already posing many questions in our classrooms, but the TC² approach promised to improve the questions we asked and the way we asked them.


Our work with TC² becomes our action research focus

Within the Seine River School Division, every school runs action research projects. A major aspect of action research is tracking data. Based on data we’d collected previously, we knew that the way we asked questions would be a fantastic way to improve our practice. The questions we ask and the way we ask them affects how students respond and can improve student learning and engagement. Our work with TC² became our action research focus.

Over the following year, we took part in divisional professional development provided by TC². We also had the opportunity to work with a TC² consultant Warren Woytuck, who coached us on our team project. Together, we broke down the curriculum, seeking the best places and ways to incorporate problematized questions. We considered how we could make critical thinking integral to student work. We explored how we could help our students respond to problematized questions. We modeled our approach and we worked on it together, and eventually with our students.


Developing a tool for assessment as, for, and of learning

As with any project, we spent time reflecting, seeking to improve what we were doing as we went along. We soon realized that we needed a tool to assess critical thinking and the responses students were providing. Together, using the TC² criteria for critical thinking, our team created a student-friendly rubric that covered summarization, choice/decision, justification, and metacognition. The student responses became consistent, concise, and clear because students were able to self-assess throughout the process. At the same time, the teacher assessment became consistent and authentic.

It has helped us make sense of our learning, and it is easier to put things together. Instead of memorizing everything, we actually understand it more.
—Isabelle, Grade 7 student

When I think of the critical thinking rubric, I think of how I can evaluate different parts of a scenario or event to make a final decision that I am more sure of.
—Rachel, Grade 8 student


The quality of independent student work improves

We now see the impact this strategy has had on the independence of our students. The quality of students’ written answers, their oral presentations, and their projects show strong evidence of critical thinking. And all this was happening in both official languages.

Having had the chance to work closely with TC² gave the Grade 7/8 team at Ecole Lorette Immersion the building blocks to choose and implement a focus that has changed practice and improved student thinking. The future holds more excitement—next year we’ll be working with our Grade 5/6 teaching team to pass along what we learned and to spread critical thinking through more of our school population.

Principal Mireille Bazin-Berryman
Grade 7/8 Teachers Julie Gobeil, Amita Khandpur, and Dylan Tretiak
Ecole Lorette Immersion
Seine River School Division, Manitoba