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Frequently Asked Questions / FAQs

Ordering Information

How Can I Pay for My Order?
On-line orders can be paid with Visa, MasterCard, or Discover. Mail orders can be paid with Visa, MasterCard, Discover, check or money order.

When Will I Receive My Order?
Continental U.S.: Orders are shipped First Class mail or UPS (depending on the weight) for arrival within 7-12 business days. Outside Continental U.S.& Canada: Orders are shipped First Class or Priority mail (depending on the weight) for arrival within 7-14 business days.

What is your Product Guarantee?
Our commitment is to help you meet your students' needs by providing high-quality critical thinking materials.

Our products are fully guaranteed--if any product purchased from does not meet your needs or expectations, we will be happy to give you an exchange or refund within 60 days of receipt. Just fill out our Return Form.

Higher grades and top test scores? We guarantee it--or your money back! Develop your students' critical thinking and empower their minds. --Michael O. Baker, Publisher

How are backorders and pre-orders handled?
We attempt to ship all orders within one business day of receipt, and strive to maintain inventory on all items at all times.

If your order is for multiple items, and not all are in stock at the time of the order, we will ship the backordered products, via standard shipping methods, as soon as possible—at no extra charge.

When ordering only backordered or pre-ordered items, the order will be shipped via ground method (unless indicated differently) using standard shipping charges based on the amount of the order. If a product is discontinued or delayed for an extended period, we reserve the right to cancel the back order.

Backorders shipping to international locations will be canceled and you will be notified via packing slip or e-mail.

What Privacy Guarantees do I have?
The Critical Thinking Co. is dedicated to protecting your privacy. We also fully support and comply with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.

Select comments may be posted on our site from time to time, but we will not identify you personally (except by your first name or initials and sometimes your city) nor disclose your e-mail address. Like most major websites, we collect and analyze generic user information to help us improve the site for our customers. While any personal information you provide us is safeguarded, please remember that no one can guarantee the complete security of information transmitted over the Internet. You should be careful about the personal information which you provide to us or any site.

You also have the option to have your personal information deleted from our database or to stop receiving communications from us at any time. Just e-mail us at

If you have any questions about this privacy policy or your dealings with this site, please contact us at Learn more about our Site Policies.

How do I Delete Products from the Shopping Cart?
To delete items in your shopping cart simply click the "Remove"
button located to the right of the product price.

How do I Change Quantities in the Shopping Cart?
You may increase or decrease item quantities by typing in the new quantity
and clicking on the "Update Your Cart" button located under
the Estimated Total of your shopping cart.

Trouble Placing an Order

Why am I having troubles checking out? | Why am I having troubles adding items to my cart?
If you experience troubles adding items to your cart, checking out, or random errors displayed at the top of the page, please delete your browser cache/cookies. Refer to your browser for help on how to do this as it differs depending on your browser program.


What is your return policy?
Any product(s) in resalable condition may be returned within 60 days of receipt for a refund or exchange. (Shipping costs are not refundable unless the return is a result of our error.)

How do I return a product?
Please enclose a copy of your packing slip and the Return Form with your return. Please wrap your package securely and return it:

Prepaid UPS to or Insured, prepaid U.S. MAIL to
1991 Sherman Ave, Suite 200
North Bend, OR 97459

I received the wrong item(s). What should I do?
Please call our customer service department at 800-458-4849. We will process an exchange for the correct product and pay all related shipping costs.

I received a damaged good. What should I do?
Please call our customer service department at 800-458-4849. We will replace the damaged item and pay all related shipping costs.

How do I track my order while in shipment?
Visit the Order Tracking page to find your orders' shipping date, shipping method and tracking number or call our customer service department at 800-458-4849. Please note that even if your order doesn't appear in our tracking system yet, your order may have already shipped. Please allow 2-4 business days for our systems to update before tracking your order.

How can I cancel an order?
Please call our customer service department at 800-458-4849 within 24 hours after placing your order. If the item(s) have not already been shipped, we will cancel the order.

General Information

What is Critical Thinking?
Critical thinking is reasoned identification and evaluation of evidence to guide decision making. A critical thinker uses broad in-depth analysis of evidence to make decisions and communicate his/her beliefs clearly and accurately. Critical thinking produces bright, independent, innovative thinkers who succeed in education and in life. Learn More

What critical thinking skills are necessary for success in your courses?
First think critically about the skills you want students to learn in your courses, and why. Which of these are general critical thinking skills? Which are discipline specific? Be prepared to explain this to your students at the beginning of the term.

How can you assess students' critical thinking skills and background knowledge at the start of your courses?
Determining this at the beginning of the term allows you to tailor your selection and presentation of material so that it challenges students appropriately ­ not too much or too little. Consider creating a short diagnostic tool for this purpose, such as a questionnaire asking students to list related or prerequisite courses taken, and to describe their beliefs about your subject. Review their responses carefully, and think critically about how you can incorporate this knowledge into your course planning.

How can you use group discussion to promote critical thinking?
Researchers have found consistently that interaction among students, in the form of well-structured group discussions plays a central role in stimulating critical thinking. Discussing course material and its applications allows students to formulate and test hypotheses, practice asking thought-provoking questions, hear other perspectives, analyze claims, evaluate evidence, and explain and justify their reasoning. As they become more sophisticated and fluent in thinking critically, students can observe and critique each others' reasoning skills.

How will you demonstrate or model critical thinking?
Modeling of critical thinking skills by instructors is also crucial for teaching critical thinking successfully. By making your own thought processes explicit in class ­ explaining your reasoning, evaluating evidence for a claim, probing the credibility of a source, or even describing what has puzzled or confused you ­ you provide a powerful example to students, particularly if you invite them to join in; e.g., "Can you see where we're headed with this?" "I can't think of other explanations; can you?" "This idea/principle struck me as difficult or confusing at first, but here's how I figured it out." You can encourage students to emulate this by using them in demonstrations, asking them to "think out loud" in order for classmates to observe how they reason through a problem.

How can you interact with students so as to promote critical thinking?
Develop the habit of asking questions that require students to think critically, and tell students that you really expect them to give answers! In particular, Socratic questioning encourages students to develop and clarify their thinking: e.g., "Would your answer hold in all cases?" "How would you respond to a counter-example or counter-argument?" "Explain how you arrived at that answer?"

This is another skill that students can learn from your example, and can use in working with each other. Providing regular opportunities for pair or small group discussions after major points or demonstrations during lectures is also important: this allows students to process the new material, connect it to previously learned topics, and practice asking questions that promote further critical thinking. Obviously, conveying genuine respect for student input is essential. Communicating the message that you value and support student contributions and efforts to think critically increases confidence, and motivates students to continue building their thinking skills. An essential component of this process is the creation of a climate where students feel comfortable with exploring the process of reasoning through a problem without being "punished" for getting the wrong answer.

How can you structure assignments to promote critical thinking?
Writing assignments are an excellent vehicle for promoting critical thinking. In a paper, you can require students to provide valid evidence and arguments in favor of claims that they support and those they do not, thus encouraging them to consider more than their own perspectives. Writing requires students to plan and organize their thoughts in logical order, and if well done, it necessitates thorough and fluent knowledge of their topic. Creating activities by which students can practice applying knowledge learned in class to new problems or everyday experience, encourages them to examine their assumptions and make judgments about the fit between theory and application, principle and practice. Problem-solving assignments are obviously an integral part of courses in mathematics, statistics, and the sciences, as they allow students to develop and refine the reasoning and hypothesis-testing abilities necessary for success in these disciplines. However, instructors in other subject areas can also consider how to help students develop discipline-relevant problem-solving skills, particularly concerning ill-structured and novel problems. Possibilities for this kind of activity are endless and are best developed by instructors to meet the unique needs of their students, disciplines, and subject matter.

How can you test students so as to require and reward critical thinking?
Developing appropriate testing and evaluation of students is an important part of building critical thinking practice into your teaching. If students know that you expect them to think critically on tests, and the necessary guidelines and preparation are given before hand, they are more likely to take a critical thinking approach to learning all course material. Design test items that require higher-order thinking skills such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, rather than simple recall of facts; ask students to explain and justify all claims made; instruct them to make inferences or draw conclusions that go beyond given data. Essays and problems are the most obvious form of item to use for testing these skills, but well-constructed multiple-choice items can also work well. Consider carefully how you will evaluate and grade tests that require critical thinking and develop clear criteria that can be shared with the students.

How can you assess student critical thinking performance throughout the term?
In order to make informed decisions about student critical thinking and learning, you need to assess student performance and behavior in class as well as on tests and assignments. Paying careful attention to signs of inattention or frustration, and asking students to explain them, can provide much valuable information about what may need to change in your teaching approach; similarly, signs of strong engagement or interest can tell you a great deal about what you are doing well to get students to think. Brief classroom assessment instruments, such as asking students to write down the clearest and most confusing points for them in a class session, can be very helpful for collecting a lot of information quickly about student thinking and understanding.

How can you use assessment results to inform your teaching?
The key to the best use of ongoing assessment techniques, of course, is that you (a) think critically about the results and what they say about student thinking and learning at that point, (b) make informed decisions about any changes in your teaching connected with the assessment, and (c) explain this process carefully to students. This tells them that you take their input seriously and are making genuine efforts to incorporate it, within reason ­ and once more, you are modeling good critical thinking practice.

How can you afford to spend time focusing on teaching students to think critically when you have so much content to cover?
Because of the rapidly changing nature of knowledge in the 21st century, giving students a great deal of content with no discussion of how to analyze, integrate, or apply it will leave them with nothing but a collection of discrete pieces of information to cram into their minds for the tests. They will not understand it thoroughly and will forget most of it within a week of the final exam because they lacked an essential understanding of the material and its underlying assumptions. If measured by the amount of information actually retained and an increased ability to continue to learn and assimilate new knowledge, focusing on "learning how to learn" a subject creates a far greater return for student and faculty time and energy spent.

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