Research in Psychology and Behavioral Sciences
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Research in Psychology and Behavioral Sciences. 2015, 3(2), 25-31
DOI: 10.12691/rpbs-3-2-2
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Academic Performance of Introductory Psychology Students: The Importance of Critical Thinking

Kerry A. Schwanz1, and Megan McIlreavy1

1Department of Psychology, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, South Carolina, USA

Pub. Date: May 04, 2015

Cite this paper:
Kerry A. Schwanz and Megan McIlreavy. Academic Performance of Introductory Psychology Students: The Importance of Critical Thinking. Research in Psychology and Behavioral Sciences. 2015; 3(2):25-31. doi: 10.12691/rpbs-3-2-2


The purpose of this study was to examine the importance of critical thinking for academic performance of students enrolled in introductory level psychology courses. Critical thinking skills and academic self-efficacy were significantly related to how students performed at the end of an introductory psychology course. Critical thinking skills along with high school GPA were the best predictors of student learning at the end of the course. Critical thinking was not predictive of overall academic performance as measured by cumulative GPA at the end of the semester. Instead, high school GPA emerged as the sole predictor of cumulative GPA, accounting for 22% of the variance. Results indicated no significant difference in critical thinking, academic self-efficacy, or final exam performance at the end of the semester for students enrolled in psychology courses taught using two different methods; Team-Based Learning vs. a traditional lecture format. The implications for these findings as they relate to academic performance and overall student learning in higher education are discussed.

critical thinking academic self-efficacy team-based learning college students

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