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©2006—Center for Teaching, Learning, & Technology, Washington State University

Northeastern Illinois University General Education Critical Thinking Rubric

Downloaded 3/2/05 from


Macro Criteria

No/Limited Proficiency (D&E)

Some Proficiency (C)

Proficiency (B)

High Proficiency (A)

1. Identifies & Explains Issues

Fails to identify, summarize, or explain the main problem or question.

Represents the issues inaccurately or inappropriately.

Identifies main issues but does not summarize or explain them clearly or sufficiently

Successfully identifies and summarizes the main issues, but does not explain why/how they are problems or create questions

Clearly identifies and summarizes main issues and successfully explains why/how they are problems or questions; and identifies embedded or implicit issues, addressing their relationships to each other.

2. Distinguishes Types of Claims

Fails to label correctly any of the factual, conceptual and value dimensions of the problems and proposed solutions.

Successfully identifies some, but not all of the factual, conceptual, and value aspects of the questions and answers.

Successfully separates and labels all the factual, conceptual, and value claims

Clearly and accurately labels not only all the factual, conceptual, and value, but also those implicit in the assumptions and the implications of positions and arguments.

3. Recognizes Stakeholders and Contexts

Fails accurately to identify and explain any empirical or theoretical contexts for the issues.

Presents problems as having no connections to other conditions or contexts.

Shows some general understanding of the influences of empirical and theoretical contexts on stakeholders, but does not identify many specific ones relevant to situation at hand.

Correctly identifies all the empirical and most of theoretical contexts relevant to all the main stakeholders in the situation.

Not only correctly identifies all the empirical and theoretical contexts relevant to all the main stakeholders, but also finds minor stakeholders and contexts and shows the tension or conflicts of interests among them.

4. Considers Methodology

Fails to explain how/why/which specific methods of research are relevant to the kind of issue at hand.

Identifies some but not all methods required for dealing with the issue; does not explain why they are relevant or effective.

Successfully explains how/why/which methods are most relevant to the problem.

In addition to explaining how/why/which methods are typically used, also describes embedded methods and possible alternative methods of working on the problem.

5. Frames Personal Responses and Acknowledges Other Perspectives

Fails to formulate and clearly express own point of view, (or) fails to anticipate objections to his/her point of view, (or) fails to consider other perspectives and position.

Formulates a vague and indecisive point of view, or anticipates minor but not major objections to his/her point of view, or considers weak but not strong alternative positions.

Formulates a clear and precise personal point of view concerning the issue, and seriously discusses its weaknesses as well as its strengths.

Not only formulates a clear and precise personal point of view, but also acknowledges objections and rival positions and provides convincing replies to these.

California State University, Fresno General Education Scoring Guide for Critical Thinking

Downloaded 3/2/05 from

Scoring Level


Analysis & Evaluation


4 - Accomplished

Analyzes insightful questions

Examines conclusions

Argues succinctly

Refutes bias

Uses reasonable judgment

Discusses issues thoroughly

Critiques content

Discriminates rationally

Shows intellectual honesty

Examines inconsistencies

Synthesizes data

Justifies decisions

Values information

Views information critically

Assimilates information

3 - Competent

Asks insightful questions

Formulates conclusions

Argues clearly

Detects bias.

Recognizes arguments

Identifies issues

Categorizes content.

Notices differences

Attributes sources naturally

Identifies inconsistencies

Evaluates data

Suggests solutions

Recognizes context

Seeks out information

Incorporates information

2 - Developing

Identifies some questions

Identifies some conclusions

Misconstructs arguments

Notes some bias

Sees some arguments

Generalizes issues

Recognizes basic content

Identifies some differences

Cites sources

States some inconsistencies

Paraphrases data

Presents few options

Selects sources adequately

Assumes information valid

Overlooks some information

1 - Beginning

Fails to question data

Fails to draw conclusions

Omits argument

Ignores bias

Sees no arguments

Misrepresents issues

Misses major content areas

Overlooks differences

Excludes data

Detects no inconsistencies

Repeats data

Draws faulty conclusions

Chooses biased sources

Omits research

Shows intellectual dishonesty

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