College Student Success (CSS)

College Student Success (CSS)

College Student Success (CSS) Assessment Measure what matters: critical thinking skills and mindset CSS Numeracy Report histogram Insight Assessment critical thinking tests available in Arabic, Chinese-Simplified, Chinese-Traditional, Dutch, English, Farsi, Finnish, French, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai, Turkish & Vietnamese translations University Executive Director provides testimonial about Insight Assessment client services and support Brown paper background with a strip of paper torn to reveal the words PREVIEW
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College Student Success (CSS) is a research based, validated assessment of the specific reasoning skills and personal mindset attributes predictive of success as in college

CSS Purpose:

College Student Success (CSS) is an assessment tool designed to provide objective measures of the college success mindset and college success reasoning skills of first year undergraduates, college success programs and non-traditional student admissions.

Veterans, transfers, and re-entry adult student applicants have had widely varied life, military, educational, and workplace backgrounds and experiences. College entrance tests taken in high school are not useful predictors of their potential for success as re-entry adult or transfer students.  College GPAs may not be current or comparable because of varied timing, quality, subject matter, type of higher education experience.  As a result, determining which transfer or re-entry student applicants to accept can be extremely difficult for fair-minded college admissions officers. The CSS is used to verify transfer students have the skills to succeed in college level coursework.

CSS metrics are used to :

  • Provide admissions officers with scores from a standardized measure of those attributes and skills which are genuinely predictive of success as a transfer student or as a re-entry adult student.  These scores can then be included among the factors considered when making those life-changing admissions decisions.
  • Provide advisors, learning success counselors, and the students themselves with individualized reports about their strength of their reasoning skills and the quality of their mindset attributes which are predictive of success in learning. This enables students and advisors to plan together how the student will address any apparent deficits before academic problems in the classroom begin to develop.
  • To determine whether the student success program is itself a success. Pretest and posttest data on gains in reasoning skills and learning mindset attributes which directly impact actual learning can now be gathered objectively.
  • To increase retention and graduation rates by identifying students in need of early intervention and learning support programs.
  • For general admissions to cost-effectively include the assessment of both reasoning skills and mindset in a single instrument to support efforts to admit a strong entry cohort.

CSS Overview

Strong reasoning skills and positive thinking mindset are vital to success in every academic discipline and major field of study.  College Student Success (CSS) provides objective meaningful measures to identify the students most ready to learn and those in need of learning support programs.

The CSS is a two-part discipline neutral tool that uses everyday scenarios to measure the strength of reasoning skills and the mindset required of successful learners and workers.  Test items range in difficulty and complexity.

  • The College Success Mindset (CSM), which can be administered in 30 minutes, provides data on the attitudinal dimensions of the core critical thinking and quantitative reasoning skills and the learning mindset attributes which predict academic success, attributes such as the motivation to learn and the drive to succeed.
  • The College Success Reasoning Skills instrument (CSRS), which can be administered in a single 50-minute class period, can provide data to describe pretest to post-test changes in the strengths of core critical thinking and quantitative reasoning skills that the faculty know to be essential for subject matter learning.

Scale Scores Reported:

CSS reports strengths and weaknesses on a comprehensive array of reasoning skills and mindset that are typical of successful learners who achieve their academic goals.

  • Does the applicant have the mindset of the successful learner who achieves their academic goals? The College Success Mindset (CSM) provides numerical and qualitative scores for seven personal attributes highly valued by admissions officers in their evaluation of transfer or Re-Entry Adult applicants:  Motivation to Learn, Drive to Succeed, Judgment, Intellectual Integrity, Foresight, Resilience, and Creativity.
  • Does the applicant have the strength of reasoning skills needed to be successful at the college level and beyond?  The College Success Reasoning Skills (CSRS) provides a numerical and qualitative scores for Overall Reasoning Skills, plus numerical and qualitative scores on five specific skill breakouts: Analytical Reasoning, Evaluative Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Reasoning in Uncertainty, and Reasoning with Precision.

Detailed individual and group reports can be transmitted automatically to the client admissions office.

Test Administration

Insight Assessment offers the industry’s most complete and cost-effective array of testing options. Secure, encrypted online testing is available 24x7x365 with our multilingual delivery options. Our browser or app based online system provides the option of taking our assessments on virtually any device.

The test-taker’s online interface is easy to use, data encrypted and flexible. Tests can be assigned to be taken within any window of time which meets the client’s needs. Each test is scored as soon as the test-taker submits responses to the items on the test.

Tests are available any time any where, whether directly at your site or multiple sites, at test centers or to individual devices.

College Student Success (CSS) measures the core critical thinking skills and mindset attributes that predict the success of college students.

College Success Mindset assesses seven personal attributes which are predictive of academic persistence and success

Motivation to Learn

A person who is highly motivated to learn is eager to acquire the knowledge and skills required to master new subjects, processes, systems and procedures. This person is inquisitive and expects to continue learning as a means of responding to challenges and as satisfying in its own right.

Drive to Succeed

A person with the drive to succeed has goals and puts forth effort to reach those goals. The drive to succeed is a strong indicator of persistence, sustained effort, and accomplishing what one sets out to do. Whether they set their own tasks or are given tasks by others, people in whom this drive is strong feel the need to succeed.


A person with judgment seeks multiple perspectives on any given idea or issue.  This person strives to avoid taking an “all-or-nothing” approach. When a decision is needed urgently, a person with good judgment will make a decision, but when there is more time the person with good judgment will give the matter fuller consideration.  A person with good judgment is willing to reconsider decisions if new information comes to light.

Intellectual Integrity

Intellectual integrity is the discipline of striving to be thorough and honest to learn the truth or to reach the best decision possible in a given situation. A person with intellectual integrity has a driving desire to follow reasons and evidence courageously wherever they may lead. Individuals who strongly manifest intellectual integrity value objectivity, evidence-based decision making, and the courageous, fair-minded, and complete pursuit of the best possible knowledge in any given situation


Foresight is the habit of approaching problems with a view toward anticipating consequences and outcomes. A foresightful person values clarity and the accurate interpretation of complex problem situations. Individuals who strongly manifest foresight value getting the problem right, understanding the reasons pro and con, and projecting the likely outcomes of various options.


A resilient person is adaptive when they encounter changing demands. They understand the value of flexibility when change is needed, and can easily envision a change in routine as an opportunity rather than a barrier to growth.


Creativity as applied to thinking, learning, decision making, and problem solving is the tendency to approach topics, issues and ideas in an imaginative, ingenious, and original way.  The creative thinker engages problems with energy and enthusiasm, and seeks to explore new models while keeping goals in focus.

College Success Reasoning Skills measures the strength of the applicant’s critical thinking and quantitative reasoning skills:

CSRS Overall Reasoning Skills

The CSRS Overall Reasoning Skills score describes overall strength in using reasoning to analyze, interpret, evaluate, integrate and comprehend information presented in texts and with charts and graphs. High CSRS Overall scores are attained by test takers who excel in the sustained, focused and integrated application of all the reasoning skills measured on CSRS.  The CSRS Overall score is the best indicator of a person’s intellectual capacity to achieve deep learning at the baccalaureate level and beyond.

Analytical Reasoning

Analytical skills are used to identify assumptions, reasons, themes, and the evidence used in making arguments or offering explanations. Analytical skills enable us to consider all the key elements in any given situation, and to determine how those elements relate to one another. People with strong analytical skills notice important patterns and details.  People use analysis to gather the most relevant information from spoken language, documents, signs, charts, graphs, and diagrams.

Evaluative Reasoning

Evaluative skills are used to assess the credibility of the claims people make or post, and to assess the quality of the reasoning people display when they make arguments or give explanations.  We can also apply our evaluation skills to assess the quality of many other elements that are important for good thinking, such as analyses, interpretations, explanations, inferences, options, opinions, beliefs, hypotheses, proposals, and decisions. People with strong evaluation skills can judge the quality of arguments and the credibility of speakers and writers.

Reasoning in Uncertainty

Reasoning well in contexts of uncertainty and ambiguity is critical for college level learners.  A strong score on this scale indicates excellence in the core reasoning skill of drawing well warranted justified inferences in situations involving probabilistic inductive reasoning, comparative this-is-like-that reasoning, empirical facts-up-to-theories reasoning, and in situations requiring value judgments.  Strengths in this domain enable the problem solver to find the solution that has the strongest likelihood of success, given the information at hand.

Reasoning with Precision

Reasoning in precise, tightly defined contexts requires strong analytical and inference skills in order to determine exact logical consequences given a specified set of assumptions or conditions.  Deductive reasoning plays a critical role when reasoning in precise contexts.  Strengths in this domain enable the problem solver to see the applications and the implications of information, assumptions, directives, policies, regulations and protocols.

Quantitative Reasoning

Quantitative reasoning (numeracy) refers to the ability to solve quantitative reasoning problems and to make well-reasoned judgments in a variety of quantitative contexts.  More than being able to compute a solution to a mathematical equation, numeracy includes the understanding of how quantitative information is gathered, manipulated, represented, and communicated verbally and visually, such as in texts, graphs, charts, tables and diagrams.

College Student Success (CSSreports strengths and weaknesses on a comprehensive array of reasoning skills and mindset that are typical of successful learners who achieve their academic goals.

CSS reports deliver individual and group results in a presentation ready format.   Each report includes a wide range of statistical and demographic information about individuals and/or test-taker groups. Test-taker scores and group summaries are presented with interpretative analysis by Insight Assessment measurement scientists.

  • The College Success Mindset (CSM) provides numerical and qualitative scores for seven personal attributes highly valued by admissions officers in their evaluation of transfer or Re-Entry Adult applicants:  Motivation to Learn, Drive to Succeed, Judgment, Intellectual Integrity, Foresight, Resilience, and Creativity.
  • The College Success Reasoning Skills (CSRS) provides  numerical and qualitative ranking for Overall Reasoning Skills, plus numerical and qualitative scores on five specific skill breakouts: Analytical Reasoning, Evaluative Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Reasoning in Uncertainty, and Reasoning with Precision

The Assessment Report package includes:

Individual test-taker analytics:

  • an overall score of thinking ability (Overall Score)
  • a categorical interpretation of the strength of the Overall Score  and scale scores
  • scale scores to indicate which of the skills areas are particularly strong and which are weaker and require training attention.
  • test administrators control whether test-takers receive their individual results after testing.

Group analytics include:

  • descriptive statistics and presentation ready graphic representation of the average Overall score and scale scores for the group
  • descriptive graphics and representations including  size of the group, mean, median, standard deviation, standard error of the mean, lowest score, highest score, first quartile score and third quartile score. To see video about interpreting group report histograms
  • descriptive statistics of the demographic characteristics of the test-taker group (if collected)
  • Electronic data files spreadsheet with all scale scores and demographic responses.

User Manual which includes chapters on interpreting individual and group test-taker scores using our 4-Step Process.

Validated data to support college student success

Insight Assessment clients depend on the comprehensive data and analysis in a CSS report to provide the insights needed to achieve their assessment goals.  Clients can customize their results package with additional analyses, graphics and interpretative text discussing your scores in relationship to your particular goals and objectives. For further information, see Insight Assessment Reports and Analytics

Some of the current authorized translations of the College Student Success (CSS) are listed below. Insight Assessment is constantly working on expanding the multilingual capabilities of our products.  If you do not see what you are specifically looking for, please contact us to determine if it is available

  • English

  • Spanish

Why Choose Insight Assessment for Education

Insight Assessment provides world-class reasoning skills testing, thinking mindset assessment, instructor and student learning resources, and highly responsive client support services to educational clients including universities, colleges, K-12 schools, and individual researchers.

We are dedicated to supplying the very best online instrumentation, client-specific data gathering capacity, report generation options, and professional development consulting services possible so that educators can accurately assess and successfully nurture in students a positive critical thinking mindset and strengthen their students’ critical thinking skills. 

Since 1986 we have assisted thousands of educational institutions, doctoral dissertation candidates, and grant-funded scholars to gather valid and reliable data for applicant selection, student retention, student success, program evaluation, educational effectiveness, faculty development, quality-improvement plans, educational research, and accreditation self-study purposes.

Insight Assessment Solutions Set the Standard:


World- leading critical thinking assessments and educational development tools

  • Well-established, valid, reliable, culturally sensitive measures of students’ critical thinking mindset dispositions and their critical thinking skills applicable across all academic fields of study.
  • Different tools specifically tailored and calibrated for each educational level: graduate, undergraduate, community college, and K-12 students at all levels.
  • Online delivery in as many as 30 languages including English, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese. Currently available language options vary by the instrument selected for use.  
  • Engaging, self-development online critical thinking training modules and the Keys & Strategies Course Pack for high school, college, and adult learners.
  • A library of free instructional resources and research on critical thinking to support faculty development.
  • Deep discounts for non-profit educational institutions, NGOs, doctoral dissertation scholars, and researchers funded by external grants.

Relevant, immediate, and actionable score and analytics reporting

  •  Online reports package includes statistical and graphical presentations of aggregated group data and detailed “stats-ready” scores for each student assessed on each metric.
  • Client training in the use of our online report generation tool to enable authorized personnel to generate custom reports, aggregating and disaggregating data by school, discipline, classroom, or any of the custom questions that the client may have included.
  • Comprehensive group reports provide quantitative and qualitative scores on each metric assessed, applicable percentile benchmark of the overall critical thinking score, table of descriptive statistics for each metric, and presentation-ready color graphics displaying group performance on each metric.
  • Printable individual reports specify qualitative and quantitative scores, percentile score if relevant, and detailed descriptions of each metric to aid in understanding more fully the individual’s strengths and weakness in reasoning skills or dispositional mindset attributes.
  • Client’s choice of US or international comparison percentile group to rank each overall critical thinking score for organizational and individual benchmarking purposes. Available percentile benchmark selections vary by the instrument selected for use.

Superior assessment services

  •  Starting with an initial consultation to learn about your project, our experienced assessment specialists work with you on instrument selection and administration strategies that can best support your project.
  • We assist clients in adding client-specific custom questions to enable organizing, managing, and analyzing the critical thinking assessment data that they plan to collect with our secure encrypted data collection and fully customizable student profile options.
  • We demonstrate how easy it is to administer assessments even to very young students using our intuitive, browser-based, multilingual online testing system on almost any device: computer, tablet, or smartphone.
  • We assist with privacy protection strategies, including, if needed, completely anonymous double-blind assessments.
  • Preview packages enable future clients to experience the intended assessment tool in exactly the same way their students would. Preview packs include access to the full user manual.A

Training and consulting services

  • Faculty development workshops focused on effective classroom strategies used to teach for critical thinking across the full spectrum of academic subject areas. Highly experienced academic workshop leaders with a track record of presenting engaging and effective faculty workshops at national conferences and on site.  
  • Institutional effectiveness consulting to assist with preparation for accreditation and outcomes assessment projects. Senior level consultants with solid academic resumes and many years of direct experience in higher education leadership positions.   
Need to expedite your project?  We can have your first online testing assignment available for your students within 24 hours. 

Contact us today
Get started by calling 650-697-5628 and speaking with one of our assessment specialists today.

For information on how to purchase Insight Assessment solutions  

As a qualified purchaser, we offer the option of purchasing a preview of the assessment experience.

A preview provides you with one or more opportunities to view and experience the assessment from the perspective of the individual being assessed and to see the reporting options.

Your account representative will set up your preview of the instrument on mobile devices or on computers. The preview includes the profile page, an example of the assessment itself, and an example of the individual report that will be provided at completion of the assessment.

Each preview also includes a digital copy of the user manual and resource guide for the specific instrument you are viewing. User manuals provide:

  • a brief description of each metric being assessed by the instrument;
  • a description of how to interpret both individual and group assessment results;
  • a discussion of validity and reliability for the measures;
  • all necessary information about administration of the assessment;
  • many additional resources that we hope you will find useful for designing your assessment project.

Contact us to order a preview now, or receive your preview when you place your first order for assessments.


Request a price quote.

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