The development of critical thinking in an elementary school population

Sheila Bachrach Soloff, Fordham University


The major purpose of this study was to investigate the existence and systematic growth of one aspect of critical thinking, the detection of bias, in kindergarten, first, second, third, and fourth graders. Since this is a skill previously untested with this age group, there was no existing assessment instrument in common usage. Based on developmental research and existing critical thinking tasks for older children, the researcher developed an appropriate assessment instrument for this age group. The test was administered orally in a story-telling format. Student responses were given orally as well. The instrument was administered to 102 subjects across five grade levels. The results suggested that there is an age-related increase in the ability to detect bias; however, the differences in ability between grade levels do not become significant until the fourth grade. The results suggest that some young children are capable of some critical thinking skills and pave the way for more research as well as curriculum development aimed at their age group.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Elementary education

Recommended Citation

Soloff, Sheila Bachrach, "The development of critical thinking in an elementary school population" (1988). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8821964.