The Problem ThinkCERCA™ Solves
ThinkCERCA™ is a web-based platform that gives teachers the tools and content they need to create and deliver personalized critical thinking instruction for all students.
Personalized lessons allow for peer-to-peer collaboration that heightens engagement and deepens learning. Standards-aligned simple language makes literacy learning objectives clear across disciplines.
Simple language and shared data allows teachers to coordinate and strategize across disciplines to meet individual student learning needs. Online delivery allows for personalized attention to learners during the school day.
Data that everyone can understand and a core set of tools and practices allow teams to communicate with parents and respond rapidly to student needs. The clear focus on the skills of argumentation increases opportunities for meaningful collaboration.
The Importance of Critical Thinking
Education is no longer about certification. It is about developing the skills that lead to viable academic and career paths in an increasingly complex and global world. While knowledge production and access increased exponentially over the past two thousand years, the skills required to participate in a knowledge and skill-based economy haven’t changed at all. Critical thinking remains the currency.
The literacy skills to participate in economic and intellectual life spring from the core skills of being able to apply one’s knowledge of argumentation to analyze, evaluate, and create arguments across every discipline.
Traditional Question (ACT™)
A car averages 27 miles per gallon. If gas costs $4.04 per gallon, which of the following is closest to how much gas would cost for this car to travel 2,727 typical miles?
- A. $44.44
- B. $109.08
- C. $118.80
- D. $444.40
Common Core Sample Question from Smarter Balanced
5 swimmers compete in the 50-meter race. The finish time for each swimmer is shown below.
- Swimmer 1 23.42
- Swimmer 2 23.18
- Swimmer 3 23.21
- Swimmer 4 23.35
- Swimmer 5 23.24
Explain how the race would change if each swimmer’s time was rounded to the nearest tenth.
ThinkCERCA™ In Action
Photos from our pilot beta program: 90 Students learning about water conservation using ThinkCERCA™.
Resources & Research
From High School to the Future: Why ACT Scores are Low in Chicago and What It Means for Schools
This University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research report looks at the reasons for Chicago students’ low performance on the ACT. Read page 50 to see how our practices improve college readiness dramatically.
Education for Thinking Project (Columbia University)
Here is some great research out of Columbia University to support our focus on critical thinking. Dr. Kuhn has put decades of research together and shares it in bite-sized pieces here. She has a wonderful brief book called Education for Thinking (Harvard 2009.) Her work influenced us to think a great deal more about the process of teaching critical thinking. CERCA™ is our attempt to make it simple for others to join us.
The Writing Revolution
This article tells the tale of a school that made one small change that led to big reforms. By focusing on the practice of critical thinking and the data unique to student writing, a failing school turned itself around.