Examining Predictors of Social Work Students’ Critical Thinking Skills

  • Kathleen Holtz Deal University of Maryland
  • Joan Pittman University of Maryland
Keywords: Critical thinking, Personality factors, Social work education


This study examined BSW, MSW and PhD social work students’ (N=72) critical thinking skills using the California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST). Social work students who tested as more open to experience on a personality inventory, took chemistry in college, and reported having both parents with a college degree had higher critical thinking skills. There was a trend toward higher levels of critical thinking as academic levels increased. Implications and recommendations are discussed for social work classrooms, field practica, and admissions.

Author Biographies

Kathleen Holtz Deal, University of Maryland
Associate Professor, School of Social Work
Joan Pittman, University of Maryland
Doctoral candidate, School of Social Work