HomeThe Asia-Pacific Education Researchervol. 19 no. 2 (2010)

Assessing Critical Reflection in Asian EFL Students' Portfolios: An Exploratory Study

Ya-fen Lo

Discipline: Education, English



This qualitative study aims to identify the themes in Asian EFL students' reflections and to understand whether their reflections are critical. Despite more research that has shown that Asian students are capable of higher-order thinking, little has been done to investigate whether they can produce critical thinking when no specific instructions of how to construct critical reflection in writing are given. The data were the reflections from 102 Taiwanese college students' portfolios. Each student was asked to reflect on English newspaper articles they chose. Five themes emerged from the data. Higher-order thinking was evident in their reflections. However, the levels of the students' critical thinking varied among individual students. The results partially support the views that critical thinking skills need to be taught and teachers' expectations need to be made clear to students to help them write critically. More research is needed to better understand Asian EFL students' critical thinking and writing.