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Appraisal of Critical Thinking Skills in Animal Science Undergraduates who Participated on a Nationally Competitive Collegiate Judging Team

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Abstract:

Evaluation courses have remained an integral part of collegiate animal science programs throughout the country and are a precursor for a national judging team. An evaluation course focuses on teaching students general accepted criteria for evaluating a particular animal, industry standards and rules to compare multiple animals, and emphasizes students being able to defend their judgments both written and orally. These skills are necessary for building well rounded graduates. Participation on a judging team has been associated with developing problem solving and decision making, employer preferred life skills (Boyd et al., 1992; Rusk et al., 2002). Eight students in the Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences at Clemson University took a standardized critical thinking exam. Four of the students had never taken an evaluation course or competed on a judging team (N) and the remaining four had taken an evaluation course and competed on a national judging team (J). All students were similar in regards to age, gender,
classification and GPA. Because of the low sample size, and lack of a pretest, the tentative conclusion that we can draw from this exercise is that students who have participated in national horse judging contests subsequently demonstrate a higher level of critical thinking ability.

 

Keywords:

collegiate judging teams, animal science undergraduates, critical thinking skills

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