Promoting And Assessing Critical Thinking

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Our model

The Critical Thinking Consortium has developed a highly successful, classroom-proven approach that engages students and enhances learning across the curriculum. Our model is based on four fronts for teacher action:

  • building a community of thinkers
  • promoting critical challenges
  • teaching thinking tools
  • assessing for thinking

Building a community of thinkers

TC² supports teachers with practical guidelines for promoting a classroom culture where thinking is nurtured and valued. Lessons come alive when students work together on:

  • making decisions
  • justifying conclusions
  • debating pros and cons
  • considering multiple points of view

With the TC² approach, social aspects of learning are reinforced. Students contribute to, and benefit from, a vibrant community where critical thinking is a regular part of daily classroom life.

Promoting critical challenges

Critical challenges engage students in making reasoned decisions about puzzling or problematic situations. Teachers discover that students have an enhanced sense of purpose and renewed excitement about learning when they are invited to consider plausible alternatives and make meaningful choices based on clear criteria.

TC² offers classroom-ready resources with fully-developed critical challenges in many subject areas, as well as workshops that prepare teachers to create their own challenges tailored to specific curriculum expectations and student needs.

Teaching thinking tools

The TC² approach helps all students become more competent thinkers by explicitly teaching powerful thinking tools in the context of the curriculum. We support teachers in fostering students’ independent use of thinking tools in five categories:

  • background information
  • criteria for judgment
  • critical thinking vocabulary
  • thinking strategies
  • habits of mind

TC² resources, such as the online Tools for Thought collection, provide ready-to-use materials to support student thinking and learning.

Assessing for thinking

Assessment sends a strong message to students about what is important. For this reason, TC² places thinking at the centre of all assessment. We support an approach to assessment that:

  • focuses on clearly targeted learning goals
  • provides frequent opportunities for feedback
  • includes self and peer assessment
  • uses multiple forms of evidence

As students respond to critical challenges, they demonstrate their thinking in a variety of ways. With prepared rubrics and curriculum-embedded guidelines, TC² helps teachers use assessment to boost their students’ achievement.



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