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​Educator Resources

The page provides resources for educators or trainers who would like to help others develop critical thinking, professional problem solving, or other higher-order thinking skills.

College Faculty Handbook:  Steps for Better Thinking (2006)
Chapters in this handbook include:  (1) critical thinking learning outcomes, (2) critical thinking performance patterns, (3)designing coursework to foster critical thinking development, and (4) assessing students' critical thinking skills.  The handbook appendix includes several detailed assessment examples.  Although the handbook uses the term "critical thinking," the materials apply equally to other learning goals that rely on higher-order thinking skills.
College Faculty Handbook excluding appendices:
For a pdf copy of appendices to the handbook (freely available), send email to Susan Wolcott (swolcott at

YouTube Videos - Introduction to Five Patterns of Thinking
This is a set of 7 videos recorded from a webinar held on Dec. 11, 2013.  The webinar introduced the five patterns of thinking commonly found among adults--as described more fully in the College Faculty Handbook listed above. The videos can be located by searching for the "WolcottLynch" channel in YouTube. Or, click on the following links.
Video Part 1 of 7: Introduction​
Video Part 2 of 7: Pattern Zero (Confused Fact-Finder)​
Video Part 3 of 7: Pattern One (Biased Jumper) ​​
Video Part 4 of 7: Pattern Two (Perpetual Analyzer) ​​​
Video Part 5 of 7: Pattern Three (Pragmatic Performer) ​​​
Video Part 6 of 7: Pattern Four (Strategic Revisioner)​
Video Part 7​ of 7: Conclusion
Steps for Better Thinking Materials
Steps for Better Thinking
(1-page graphic model, version Feb. 9, 2006)
           Steps for Better Thinking Performance Patterns
(1-page overview of 5 patterns of performance for open-ended tasks, version Jan. 26, 2006)
           Steps for Better Thinking Competency Rubric
(1-page assessment rubric that focuses on skill building, version Feb. 9, 2006)
           Steps for Better Thinking Rubric
(1-page comprehensive assessment rubric, version Feb. 9, 2006)
           Customizable Rubric
(document containing multiple descriptions of critical thinking; useful for developing a customized critical thinking rubric, version Mar. 29, 2010)
Customized Rubric_100329.docx
Templates for Designing Assignments (formerly Task Prompts)
(1-page lists of prompts for questions aimed at Steps 1, 2, 3, and 4 in Steps for Better Thinking, version Feb. 9, 2006)
Assignment Templates_060209.doc
Assignment Templates_060209.pdf
Developmental Guide
This paper: (a) describes a professional problem solving model and its theoretical basis, and (b) provides evaluation rubrics with college classroom examples.  (1998 version.  For newer materials, see the "College Faculty Handbook" listed above.)
Assessment Illustrations
See the "College Faculty Handbook" listed above
The Reflective Judgment Model: Implications for Service-Learning and Reflection
This very short paper contains a table that describes different levels of reflective judgment (King & Kitchener), the likely responses of students to service-learning activities such as reflection, and developmentally appropriate reflection questions that educators can use with students operating at each reflective judgment level.
Illustration of Student Assignment, Handout, Self-Assessment Form, and Classroom Activities
Example of a handout given to students as part of a course module on critical thinking.  Students were given an open-ended assignment to be turned in on the day the module began.  The handout walks students through the Steps for Better Thinking model and helps them explore what it means in the context of the assignment.
Expanding/Contracting the Quantity and Quality of Information Analysis
Handout given to students for discussion of factors that can limit information analysis.  Could also be applied to ethical/moral reasoning (see Wolcott, 2000,  A Brief Discussion of Moral Reasoning as Open-Ended Problem Solving, available by sending email to Susan Wolcott: swolcott at 
Materials for Student Self-Evaluation
Worksheets that can be used to guide student self-evaluations.  Use in conjunction with an open-ended assignment and classroom discussion. 
Problem Solving Skills Worksheet
This worksheet is described in Wolcott, S. K. (1999). Developing and Assessing Critical Thinking and Life-Long Learning Skills Through Student Self-Evaluations. Assessment Update 11(4, July-August), pp. 4-5, 16.
Describing Your Approach to an Open-Ended Problem
Worksheet asking students to describe how they addressed an open-ended problem.  The first page of the file briefly describes how to use the worksheet with students.
Steps for Better Thinking:  Self-Evaluation Form
Another format for the student self-evaluation worksheet.
Describing Your Approach to a Real-World Problem
Worksheet asking students to describe and reflect upon their experiences with an open-ended problem outside of the classroom context, including students' clinical experiences.  The first page of the file briefly describes how to use the worksheet with students.
​Last modified: 10/29/15