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Analysis & Critical Thinking :: Analysis and Critical Thinking

Analysis and critical thinking active learning approaches that can be used in the classroom. Use the links below to see documents on how to implement each approach.

Analysis and Critical Thinking activities assess students' skills at breaking down information, questions, or problems in order to understand them more fully and solve them more efficiently. Using these approaches, instructors can measure how well students are able to interpret or analyze information and arrive at an informed decision or judgement.

Approach Description Outcome
Analytic Memo Students write a one- or two-page analysis of a problem or issue. Analyzing assigned problems using discipline-specific methods.
Categorizing Grid Students sort subordinate terms into the correct categories on a grid. Determining whether, how, and to what extent students understand what information goes together with other information, revealing the implicit rules students are using to categorize information.
Content, Form, and Function Students analyze the what(content), how (form), and why(function) of a particular message. Separating and analyzing the informational message, form, and communicative function of a piece of course content.
Defining Features Students categorize concepts according to the presence of (+) or absence of (–) critical defining features. Developing skills in categorizing information based on a given set of critical defining features.
Pro and Con Grid Students follow a decision-making process by reviewing an issue, creating a list of pro and con arguments, and making a decision based on analysis of those points. Helping students move beyond their first reactions to an issue by looking at it from different perspectives and weighing the value of competing claims.


Angelo, Thomas A., and K. Patricia Cross. Classroom Assessment Techniques: a Handbook for College Teachers. Jossey-Bass, 1993. pp. 159-180.

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No.Document TitleIDUpdatedHits
1 **** Analysis and Critical Thinking
2 Analytic Memo (classroom)
3 Categorizing Grid (classroom)
4 Content, Form, and Function Outlines (classroom)
5 Pro and Con Grid (classroom)
6 Defining Features Matrix (classroom)
7 Pro and Con Grid in Large Courses (online)
8 Defining Features Matrix in Large Courses (online)
9 Pro and Con Grid (ALC)
10 Defining Features Matrix (ALC)
11 Categorizing Grid (ALC)
12 Content, Form, and Function Outlines (ALC)
13 Analytic Memo (ALC)
14 Pro and Con Grid (online)

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