Thinking Skills (THS)

Thinking Skills involves the study of analytical thinking as a set of transferrable intellectual skills independent of subject content. The intention is the development of critical thought and of the process of reasoning as well as the use of analytical thinking using data to solve real world problems. These key skills are divided into the categories of Problem Solving and Critical Thinking.

Problem Solving develops the student’s ability to analyse numerical and graphical information, which is based in real life situations, and apply the right numerical techniques to find new information or derive solutions. Critical Thinking is the analytical thinking that underlies all rational discourse and enquiry. It is characterised by a meticulous and rigorous approach. As an academic discipline, it is unique in that it explicitly focuses on the processes involved in being rational.


Assessment is based on the extent to which the student succeeds in demonstrating the skills set out in the subject aims and objectives. Each thinking skills course has a specific skill set which is addressed and on which students will be assessed. Assessment is designed to make students aware of their own working styles and develop their own skills. Students are assessed on their mastery of basic concepts, and the skills of argumentation and research. Students are encouraged to engage in self-assessment and peer assessment. Assessment will take into account the students ability to, identify, apply, synthesize, evaluate, and demonstrate critical thinking and problem solving skills different situations.


Eira High School offers four courses in Thinking Skills. Courses THS20 and THS21 prepare students for the AS Thinking Skills qualification offered by Cambridge International Examinations. Courses THS22 and THS23 prepare students for the A2 Thinking Skills qualification. All courses are school based specialization courses that count towards the High School Leaving Certificate. 

THS20 Problem Solving

Keskeiset sisällöt: Problem Solving is analytical thinking using data and techniques to solve real world problems. Problem-solving processes include: identifying which data are relevant when faced with a mass of data, most of which is irrelevant; combining pieces of information that may not appear to be related to give new information; relating one set of information to another in a different form – this involves using experience: relating new problems to ones we have previously solved.

THS21 Argument and Evidence

The main activities of Critical Thinking are analysis, evaluation and construction of argument. By analysing arguments, candidates learn to identify the key parts of a reasoned case, and to understand how they work. To evaluate a piece of reasoning, candidates need to make informed judgements about how sound, strong or weak it is. This often includes assessing the impact of responses to an argument: challenges, supporting evidence, counter-examples, etc. Candidates undertake their own reasoning, based on stimulus material.
Keskeiset sisällöt: Critical Thinking is based around the concept of argument. Candidates learn to recognise when someone is engaged in reasoned argument, as distinct from quarrelling, disputing, reporting or explaining. Different examples of reasoning and argument are explored to understand their common characteristics, and most importantly the use of reasons (or premises) to support conclusions. Candidates learn a basic language of reasoning: everyday words such as ‘therefore’, ‘because’, ‘if...then’, which are used in arguments; and semi-technical terms such as ‘conclusion’, ‘assumption’, ‘flaw’, ‘sufficient’, which are used to talk about argument.

THS22 Advanced Problem Solving

Keskeiset sisällöt: This course builds on the problem solving skills introduced in THS 20. In addition to the above content students should be able to develop a model in problem solving and analyse complex data and drawing conclusions.

THS23 Applied Reasoning

Keskeiset sisällöt: This course builds on the skills in analysing and evaluating argument and evidence introduced in THS21. In addition students should be able to construct a reasoned case, including the selection and combination of information and interpret statistics.