Date of Graduation
This nonexperimental, descriptive, correlational study addressed the problem of consistency and fairness in evaluating student nurses' reflective writing for evidence of critical thinking. The purposes were twofold: To describe the relationships among teacher ratings, cognitive word use, and a standardized measure of critical thinking in baccalaureate nursing students; and to describe the extent that teacher ratings and cognitive word use are predictive of a standardized measure of critical thinking. A teacher designed tool, the Critical Thinking Scale (CTS), was used by five faculty members to independently evaluate graduates' reflective writings for evidence of critical thinking. The California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST) was the standardized measure of critical thinking. The Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC), a software processing program, was used to analyze the same reflective writings that the teachers rated. Archival data in the form of reflective writings and CCTST exit scores were obtained from a total of 57 nursing graduates of the 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002 classes of a small liberal arts college located in the northeast. The reflective writings pertained to significant experiences that the graduates encountered during their last practice course of the program. Pearson correlations between the five teacher raters indicated a statistically significant range between r = .267 and .628 (p < .05). Additional correlations indicated a positive relationship (r = .233, p < 0.05) between the total CCTST critical thinking score and the mean teacher rating. The six LIWC cognitive mechanisms subscores were significantly (R2 = .222, p < 0.05) related to the total CCTST critical thinking score. Future research is indicated to develop and test teacher accessible tools to evaluate the reflective writing of student and practicing nurses.
Kennison, Monica Metrick, "The evaluation of critical thinking, reflective writing, and cognitive word use in baccalaureate nursing students." (2003). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 9165.