Friday, February 7, 2014

Sixty-three percent of U.S. graduates are not prepared for the global economy, according to Florida A&M English professor and Quality Enhancement Program director, Dr. Genye H. Boston.

Critical thinking is being able to look at something, analyze that information, process it and make a decision.

Boston said employers are looking for college graduates who can think and read critically.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employers are looking to hire people who can effectively asset problems and find solutions. Having critical thinking skills shows that someone has good judgment and communicates ideas while making decisions.

Over the next two weeks, The Graduate Studies and Research office will conduct seminars to help students prepare for professional development. Boston’s seminar on Thursday focused on how to critical think and read for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

“This class is fundamental because critical thinking isn’t something that is typically taught,” Boston said. “You know if you look at most degree programs, undergraduate degree programs there’s not a critical thinking major.”

The answer to why so many American students don’t think critically has fallen on their education system, according to Richard Arum’s book “Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses.

But Boston said there are many factors that contribute to American students lagging behind.

“I think it’s partly due to reading and reading comprehension may not have been really emphasized at the secondary level for some students,” said Boston.

Boston noted that another factor might be that Millennials do not read as much as prior generations.

Critical thinking is a big factor when taking the GRE especially critically reading. Students must understand that in order to earn a good score on the GRE test they must study and understand the material.

“I don’t think students familiarize themselves with the test or how it formatted and that can really pose a problem,” said Boston.

About ten students attended the seminar and they said it helped them study and understand how to answer the questions on the GRE.

Sergelyn Saint-Jean, a FAMU senior social work student from South Florida said, he feels confident that he’s ready and plans on taking the GRE next week.

“I was happy that I was there because I just got the booklet and the CDs but I hadn’t got one-on-one training yet,” Saint-Jean said.  “So, I learned a lot.”   

Boston gave tips to students when about how to break down and analyze questions without getting confused by the answer choices.

Merissa Evans, a graduating political science and pre-law senior from Monticello, Fla., learned it’s important to skim through the questions before you read a passage and look for key words when reading.

“You should skim through the questions so you could see what they’re looking for because they try to throw in a lot of distraction choices during the question,” said Evans.

In order for students to select the correct answers on the GRE they have to be an effective thinker. Boston goes in depth to the main problems students have when they don’t know how to think critically on standardized test.

“Some of the major challenges when critically reading is understanding the question, retaining information, understanding vocabulary and reading comprehension,” said Boston. “It’s one of the skills sets you’re forced to enhance. ”

The next seminar “Higher Learning and Education” is on Feb. 11 in the Coleman Library, room 410 at 2:30 p.m.

For more information on the Graduate Studies and Research office go to,

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