Our students ranked their experience as including coursework that emphasizes organizing ideas and analyzing data, as well as interpreting complex relationships and arguments. Critical thinking and reasoning are an essential part of the liberal arts curriculum. Such skills are encouraged by requiring a wide range of courses in many different departments, and are among the most valuable cognitive abilities that a person can take into the world beyond the gates of the College.

NSSE Critical Thinking

Summary:  In the measures of critical reasoning, Hampden-Sydney students outperform their counterparts at other baccalaureate-granting arts and sciences colleges as well as from all of the NSSE-reporting schools, both as first-year students and as seniors. Moreover, we see greater gain from first-year to senior-year among the Hampden-Sydney students than in either of the other comparison groups.

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Critical Reasoning survey

NSSE survey items addressing Critical Reasoning:

  • Coursework emphasizes analyzing the basic elements of an idea, experience or theory.
  • Coursework emphasizes synthesizing and organizing ideas, information, or experiences into new more complex interpretations and relationships.
  • Coursework emphasizes making judgments about the value of information, arguments, or methods.
  • Coursework emphasizes applying theories or concepts to practical problems or in new situations.
  • Experience at the institution has contributed to thinking critically and analytically.
  • Experience at the institution has contributed to analyzing quantitative problems.