The Effect of Critical Thinking Skill on Examination Performance

Dr Joseph Lee and Niki Cheong

INTI College, Malaysia

Business education which encompasses a broad range of philosophies and techniques is aimed to develop an understanding of core theories and practical principles of the global environment to meet the current organization needs. The learning outcome, which in practice is represented by the years of education completed usually equips students with the necessary technical knowledge, but how to develop creativity and analyticl and problem-solving skills remains as a chalenge to many.

This challenge seems to be of particular interest to some of the U.K. universities who have established full degree programmes in Malaysia aa the educational culture of Malaysia differes from that of the U.K. Newman and Lee (1999) suggests that students in Malaysia are “seeking wisdom” rather than “learning to think for themselves” and students are not expected to chalenge or question the “experts.” An experiemental module was therefore designed and introduced to enhance learning by “thinking” (Kolb, 1993) and to encourage concentrating on the “deeper”, associative (synthesis and evaluation) levels of knowledge (Bloom, 1972). The focus of this study is to evaluate th effectiveness of this experiemental module.

The analytical framework of this study extends the previous work concerning the correlation of critical thinking and academic performance of students (eg, Jenkins, 1988; Cook, 1997). The sample consists of students enrolled in an auditing module offered at a provate college in Malaysia in collaboration with a U.K. university of which some students were and some were not participants of the experiemental module on critical thinking skill. A decomposition model is used to determine if there are significant differences between groups.

Preliminary findings suggest whether the student has taken this experimental module is a significant predictor variable for students’ performance in the auditing module while the effects of previous academic achievement, gender and age are mixed.

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