Virginia's CTE Resource Center - Workplace Readiness Skills

Virginia’s CTE Resource Center

Demonstrate critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.


Demonstration includes
  • recognizing, analyzing, and solving problems that arise in completing assigned tasks
  • identifying resources that may help solve a specific problem
  • using a logical approach to make decisions and solve problems.

Process/Skill Questions

  • What are some examples of problem-solving and decision-making methods, and how are they alike and different?
  • What are the consequences of using a reasoning approach to problem solving and decision making? What are some potential consequences of using a non-reasoning approach?
  • What steps are involved in implementing the solution to a problem?
  • Why do you need to test a solution or decision?

Related Standards of Learning

History and Social Science


The student will develop the social studies skills responsible citizenship requires, including the ability to

  1. examine and interpret primary and secondary source documents;
  2. create and explain maps, diagrams, tables, charts, graphs, and spreadsheets;
  3. analyze political cartoons, political advertisements, pictures, and other graphic media;
  4. distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information;
  5. review information for accuracy, separating fact from opinion;
  6. identify a problem, weigh the expected costs and benefits and possible consequences of proposed solutions, and recommend solutions, using a decision-making model;
  7. formulate an informed, carefully reasoned position on a community issue;
  8. select and defend positions in writing, discussion, and debate.


The student will demonstrate knowledge of personal character traits that facilitate thoughtful and effective participation in civic life by

  1. practicing trustworthiness and honesty;
  2. practicing courtesy and respect for the rights of others;
  3. practicing responsibility, accountability, and self-reliance;
  4. practicing respect for the law;
  5. practicing patriotism;
  6. practicing decision making;
  7. practicing service to the school and/or local community.

Other Related Standards

Economics and Personal Finance Standards of Learning


The student will demonstrate knowledge of basic economic concepts and structures by
  1. describing how consumers, businesses, and government decision makers face scarcity of resources and must make trade-offs and incur opportunity costs;
  2. explaining that choices often have long-term unintended consequences;
  3. describing how effective decision making requires comparing the additional costs (marginal costs) and additional benefits (marginal benefits);
  4. identifying factors of production;
  5. comparing the characteristics of market, command, tradition, and mixed economies; and
  6. identifying Adam Smith and describing the characteristics of a market economy.


The student will demonstrate knowledge of planning for living and leisure expenses by
  1. comparing the costs and benefits of purchasing vs. leasing a vehicle;
  2. comparing the advantages and disadvantages of renting vs. purchasing a home;
  3. describing the process of renting housing;
  4. describing the process of purchasing a home;
  5. calculating the cost of utilities, services, maintenance, and other housing expenses; and
  6. evaluating discretionary spending decisions.


The student will demonstrate knowledge of credit and loan functions by
  1. evaluating the various methods of financing a purchase;
  2. analyzing credit card features and their impact on personal financial planning;
  3. identifying qualifications needed to obtain credit;
  4. identifying basic provisions of credit and loan laws;
  5. comparing terms and conditions of various sources of consumer credit;
  6. identifying strategies for effective debt management, including sources of assistance;
  7. explaining the need for a good credit rating;
  8. comparing the costs and conditions of secured and unsecured loans; and
  9. comparing the types of voluntary and involuntary bankruptcy and the implications of each.


The student will demonstrate knowledge of the role of insurance in risk management by
  1. evaluating insurance as a risk management strategy;
  2. distinguishing among the types, costs, and benefits of insurance coverage, including automobile, life, property, health, and professional liability; and
  3. explaining the roles of insurance in financial planning.


The student will demonstrate knowledge of taxes by
  1. describing the types and purposes of local, state, and federal taxes and the way each is levied and used;
  2. exploring how tax structures affect consumers, producers, and business owners differently;
  3. computing local taxes on products and services;
  4. examining potential tax deductions and credits on a tax return;
  5. explaining the content and purpose of a standard W-2 form; and
  6. explaining the similarities and differences between state and federal taxation of inheritances.


The student will demonstrate knowledge of personal financial planning by
  1. identifying short-term and long-term personal financial goals;
  2. identifying anticipated and unanticipated income and expenses;
  3. examining components and purposes of a personal net worth statement;
  4. developing a personal budget;
  5. investigating the effects of government actions and economic conditions on personal financial planning; and
  6. explaining how economics influences a personal financial plan.


The student will demonstrate knowledge of investment and savings planning by
  1. comparing the impact of simple interest vs. compound interest on savings;
  2. comparing and contrasting investment and savings options;
  3. explaining costs and income sources for investments;
  4. examining the fundamental workings of Social Security and the system's effects on retirement planning;
  5. contrasting alternative retirement plans; and
  6. describing how the stock market works.

Instructional Resources for Workplace Readiness Skills

Explore More Guides to Critical Thinking: Problem-Solving Handouts and Worksheets

Exploring Systems Theory

Learning Mathematics through the Problem-Solving Process

Mind Tools: Decision-Making Techniques

Nevada WRS Online Resources: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Over 50 Problem-Solving Strategies Explained

P21’s Critical Thinking and Problem Solving List

PBS Invent It, Build It Activity Guide

Problem Solving

The Problem-Solving Process