Across the board, critical thinking is becoming a hot topic in schools and businesses. In fact, a recent study by the Society of Human Resource Management and The Conference Board rated critical thinking and problem solving as the number one skill of increasing importance over the next five years.
And, experts say critical thinking has never been more vital.
"America needs to make sure that our students and our employees are thinking critically, thinking independently and making judgments. If we don't, there are other countries out there that are investing the time and energy, and we could fall behind," said Judy Chartrand, Consultant and Chief Scientist at Pearson Talent Assessment.
Business leaders and school officials are recognizing this void and seeking effective ways to assess and improve this essential skill, as seen in this critical thinking video, from the education services and technology company Pearson.
The American Management Association's Ed Reilly says young professionals need to be able to think critically and see all sides of an issue: "Today's students are developing the skills that they'll carry with them for the rest of their lives. Learning leadership and critical thinking skills, along with the traditional skills people learn in school, is a very important tool in terms of building the workforce of tomorrow."
For example, Minneapolis-based leadership development firm MDA Consulting has seen increased demand for its expertise in exploring potential job candidates' levels of critical thinking ability, which is assessed using Pearson's Watson-Glaser II Critical Thinking Assessment.
MDA's Scott Nelson said, "As we are assessing hundreds of candidates every month, we think about using [the Watson Glaser II] as a way to get a keen understanding of an individual's critical thinking skills. We think the Watson Glaser II is a gold standard. It's very research based. And it's very short and easy to use."
Critical thinking is especially important to Andrea Schilling, Global Director of Human Resources at Varde, a privately held, international investment firm.
"We have everybody who comes to Varde, globally, take the Watson Glaser II, and we do that because we really think critical thinking skills are important at any level," said Schilling. She even attributed their low turnover rate to having a better understanding of potential candidates' critical thinking skills before they enter a new position.
"All companies need to be assessing and developing employees' ability to apply critical thinking skills - from entry-level to the C suite. Improved critical thinking leads to more effective problem solving and improved strategic thinking. It's especially important in today's competitive and uncertain economic times," said Judy Chartrand of Pearson.
More information about assessing and developing critical thinking skills can be found at www.ThinkWatson.com.
Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the global leader in education services, education technology and school solutions, provides innovative print and digital education materials for preK through college, student information systems and learning management systems, teacher professional development, career certification programs, and testing and assessment products that set the standard for the industry. Pearson's other primary businesses include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group. For more information, go to www.pearsoned.com.
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