Award Date

May 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Barbara St. Pierre-Schneider

Second Committee Member

Jessica Doolen

Third Committee Member

Nancy Menzel

Fourth Committee Member

Daniel Young

Number of Pages



Accrediting bodies of baccalaureate nursing programs require quantified assessment of critical thinking in students. The current literature indicates two types of critical thinking assessments: (a) standardized, psychometrically sound, and non-nursing specific, and (b) nursing specific, but lacking the established psychometric properties. Therefore, a nursing-specific critical thinking test with established psychometric properties would help nurse educators understand the unique critical thinking ability of baccalaureate nursing students. With information from a quantitative critical thinking ability assessment tool, instructional methods could be revised to target student characteristics that correlate with critical thinking ability. Additionally, nurse educators could use the information from a nursing-specific critical thinking ability assessment to implement program interventions to ensure student success. Ultimately, a nursing-specific critical thinking ability assessment might be used to predict how students perform on other exams, for example, the NCLEX-RN examination.

Tropical and infectious diseases are topics that are often insufficiently covered in most baccalaureate programs, yet these diseases have implications for global health. One specific disease over half of the world’s population is at risk for contracting is malaria. Assessing nursing student critical thinking ability about malaria, a topic less prevalent in the United States, may change the approach to teaching and learning strategies that promote critical thinking in nursing education. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to develop a reliable and valid critical thinking test that can be implemented in baccalaureate curricula to assess students’ critical thinking abilities regarding malaria.

Specific Aims

The two specific aims of this study were to (a) test the Malaria Critical Thinking Test’s (MCTT) content validity and (b) test the MCTT’s construct validity and reliability.


A cross-sectional survey research design was used to test the MCTT’s psychometric properties. Content validity was tested with a critical thinking expert panel review. Construct validity and reliability were tested with a convenience sample of undergraduate baccalaureate nursing students at a Midwest university.


Acceptable content validity for the MCTT was established with three stages of an expert panel’s review. Construct validity and internal consistency reliability for the MCTT were tested and deemed not acceptable. An exploratory factor analysis (EFA) indicated that there were four MCTT items with acceptable factor loading values (> 0.32). Results from the EFA indicated that a confirmatory factor analysis of the MCTT is not appropriate at this time.


This study’s results provide an initial start to establish the psychometric properties of the MCTT. Future MCTT enhancement should employ multiple strategies for item development to establish acceptable MCTT content validity, reliability, and construct validity through EFA and confirmatory factor analysis.


baccalaureate nursing students; critical thinking; malaria



File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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