Critical Thinking Assessments for Higher Education

College graduation. Higher Education students celebrate by throwing mortarboards; critical thinking predicts success Critical thinking skills for purposeful reflective judgment 7 Critical Thinking Habits of Mind (Mindset) Sample report image showing group performance on Overall critical thinking University Executive Director provides testimonial about Insight Assessment client services and support
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Validated, research based critical thinking assessments for academic disciplines

Objectively measure college thinking skills

Insight Assessment offers critical thinking test instruments designed specifically for undergraduate and graduate students.  Our higher education thinking assessments are being used in over 30 languages at colleges and universities across the world. Critical thinking data is widely used for a number of educational purposes such as:

  • student learning outcomes assessment,
  • program evaluation,
  • accreditation,
  • admissions,
  • advising,
  • identifying students’ educational needs and strengths, and
  • predicting the students’ future success in achieving professional licensure.

Importance of assessing critical thinking skills and habits of mind

Critical thinking is a process which requires strong skills. It also requires a strong motivation to apply those skills to achieve goals. In order to deliver this comprehensive assessment of critical thinking, Insight Assessment offers pairs of critical thinking tools that measure college thinking skills and habits of mind (mindset).

Whether the assessment is focused on the general education requirements or the evaluation of the learning outcomes of a particular program or major, we deliver high quality research-based higher education thinking assessments and scoring support services.

Insight Assessment group & individual metrics include norm comparison percentile scores against external college level critical thinking level standards. Click on the Norms tab of any individual assessment page to see available external criterion groups for that instrument.

Critical Thinking Online Training

Next steps?  The CCTST reveals higher education applicants that are proficient along with those requiring further development in critical thinking skills.  The Keys & Strategies Critical Thinking Course Pack is available for students requiring intervention to gain this necessary competency for study and the future of work.  In addition to 20 modules, proven to build their critical thinking skills and their lifelong learning mindset to apply those skills, a post-course assessment is included to measure both individual and group improvement.

Select the right assessments for undergraduate and graduate students

We recommend the following companion measures:


  • CCTST: The California Critical Thinking Skills Test has been called the “gold standard” of college level critical thinking tests. The CCTST has been used in the USA and in authorized translations worldwide with graduate student populations, executive level adult populations, and undergraduate students in all fields. It is a discipline-neutral measure of reasoning skills.
  • CCTDI: The California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory is an internationally known instrument used to measure attributes associated with excellence in critical thinking. Strong critical thinking disposition is endorsed by many employers as a desirable trait in employees across working environments.

HSRT and the CCTDI

  • HSRT: The Health Science Reasoning Test is a test of critical thinking designed for health sciences and health care professional preparation programs. Items require no health science knowledge but are set in health related contexts. 4-yr undergraduate and graduate school norms are available. Scores on this instrument have been found to predict successful professional licensure and high clinical performance ratings.
  • CCTDI: The California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory is the most widely used companion measure to both the HSRT and the CCTST.

BCTST and the BAI

  • BCTST: The Business Critical Thinking Skills Test is designed for undergraduate and graduate business students. Items require no business knowledge but are set in familiar business related contexts.
  • BAI: The Business Attribute Inventory contains a battery of scales that assess critical thinking disposition as well as the mindsets and values desired in today’s business professional. This tool, or the CCTDI, can be used as a companion to the BCTST to obtain a fuller profile of a student’s critical thinking.

STEM Thinking Skills Test and the CCTDI

  • STEM Thinking Skills Test: measures quantitative reasoning skills at the college level.  It is used to evaluate student skills in educational contexts where demonstrated ability to apply quantitative reasoning is valued.
  • CCTDI: The California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory is an internationally known instrument used to measure attributes associated with excellence in critical thinking.

TER and the CCTDI

  • TER: The Test of Everyday Reasoning, used widely in USA 2-yr colleges, is a test calibrated to measure the critical thinking skills of community college students. Local test scores can be compared to national 2-yr college norms and to norms gathered from working professionals in entry level workplace positions. The TER is also used in 4-year colleges and universities in freshmen studies programs.
  • CCTDI: The California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory is an internationally known instrument used to measure attributes associated with excellence in critical thinking.

College Student Success (CSS) Parts 1 & 2

  • The College Student Success (CSS) is a two part nationally normed assessment instrument that targets the specific reasoning skills and personal mindset known to be predictive of success as a first year undergraduate, transfer or re-entry student.  College Success Mindset assesses seven personal attributes which are predictive of academic persistence and success.  College Success Reasoning Skills measures the strength of the applicant’s critical thinking and quantitative reasoning skills.

LSRP, Parts 1 & 2

  • The Legal Studies Reasoning Profile is a two part tool designed for students in legal studies professional programs, law school, government and pre-law programs, and paralegal programs. It measures critical thinking skills as well as the dispositions and personal attributes associated with academic and professional success. Part 1 of the LSRP is a measure of habits of mind and personal attributes related to critical thinking, legal studies, and professional practice. Part 2 is a measure of core critical thinking skills.

MDCTI, Parts 1 & 2

  • The Military and Defense Critical Thinking Inventory is an academically oriented assessment intended for students and applicants in military education programs and colleges.  Part 1 measures 10 mental disciplines associated with successful leadership preparation.  Part 2 measures core reasoning skills used in thoughtful decision for leadership responsibilities at every level.

Quant Q

  • The Quant-Q is a challenging test of skill in reasoning and in the proper application of basic mathematical concepts in order to solve the problems presented. It is a clever tool to assess integration of critical thinking and quantitative reasoning skills.

CCT G835 and the CCTDI

  • The CCT G835 is used to measure the critical thinking skills of personnel who have been selected, or are being selected, for positions that require strategic decision making, and for working professionals, scientists and technologists with strong educational preparation.
  • CCTDI: The California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory is an internationally known instrument used to measure attributes associated with excellence in critical thinking. Strong critical thinking disposition is endorsed by many employers as a desirable trait in employees across working environments.

Strength in critical thinking predicts student success in higher education

Cost-effective and easy to administer to individuals or groups online, these higher education thinking assessments provide actionable results for immediate advising and counselling.

Insight Assessment delivers proven digital testing tools for higher education


To learn more and receive a free price quote for our higher education thinking assessments: Contact us today or call us at 650-697-5628.


Insight Assessment premiere thinking skills test instruments report on seven core components of critical thinking. Based on Delphi Expert Consensus Definition of Critical Thinking,  these scales measure the application of reasoning skills for the purpose of forming a reflective judgment about what to believe or what to do in a given context or problematic situation.


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.


Interpretation is the process of discovering, determining, or assigning meaning.  Interpretation skills can be applied to anything, e.g. written messages, charts, diagrams, maps, graphs, memes, and verbal and non-verbal exchanges. People apply their interpretive skills to behaviors, events, and social interactions when deciding what they think something means in a given context.


Inference skills enable us to draw conclusions from reasons, evidence, observations, experiences, or our values and beliefs.  Using Inference, we can predict the most likely consequences of the options we may be considering. Inference enables us to see the logical consequences of the assumptions we may be making. Sound inferences rely on accurate information. People with strong inference skills draw logical or highly reliable conclusions using all forms of analogical, probabilistic, empirical, and mathematical reasoning.


Evaluative reasoning skills enable us to assess the credibility of sources of information and the claims they make.  We use these skills to determine the strength or weakness of arguments.  Applying evaluation skills we can judge the quality of analyses, interpretations, explanations, inferences, options, opinions, beliefs, ideas, proposals, and decisions.  Strong explanation skills can support high-quality evaluation by providing the evidence, reasons, methods, criteria, or assumptions behind the claims made and the conclusions reached. 


Explanation is the process of justifying what we have decided to do or what we have decided to believe.  People with strong explanation skills provide the evidence, methods, and considerations they actually relied on when making their judgment. Explanations can include our assumptions, reasons, values, and beliefs. Strong explanations enable others to understand and to evaluate our decisions. 


Deductive reasoning is rigorously logical and clear cut. Deductive skills are used whenever we determine the precise logical consequences of a given set of rules, conditions, beliefs, values, policies, principles, procedures, or terminology. Deductive reasoning is deciding what to believe or what to do in precisely defined contexts that rely on strict rules and logic.  Deductive validity results in a conclusion which absolutely cannot be false, if the assumptions or premises from which we started all are true. Deductive validity leaves no room for uncertainty. That is, unless we decide to change the very meanings of our words or the grammar of our language.


Inductive reasoning relies on estimating likely outcomes. Decision making in contexts of uncertainty relies on inductive reasoning. Inductive decisions can be based on analogies, case studies, prior experience, statistical analyses, simulations, hypotheticals, trusted testimony, and the patterns we may recognize in a set of events, experiences, symptoms or behaviors. Inductive reasoning always leaves open the possibility, however remote, that a highly probable conclusion might be mistaken. Although it does not yield certainty, inductive reasoning can provide a solid basis for confidence in our conclusions and a reasonable basis for action.


Numeracy refers to the ability to make judgments based on quantitative information in a variety of contexts. People with strong numeracy can describe how quantitative information is gathered, manipulated, and represented textually, verbally, and visually in graphs, charts, tables and diagrams. Numeracy requires all the core critical thinking skills. Numeracy includes being thoughtfully reflective while interpreting the meaning of information expressed in charts, graphs, or text formats, analyzing those elements, drawing accurate inferences from that information, and explaining and evaluating how those conclusions were reached. 

Reasoning Skills Overall

The Reasoning Skills Overall score describes overall strength in using reasoning to form reflective judgments about what to believe or what to do. To score well overall, the test taker must excel in the sustained, focused and integrated application of core thinking skills measured on this test, including analysis, interpretation, inference, evaluation, explanation, induction and deduction. The Overall score predicts the capacity for success in educational or workplace settings which demand reasoned decision making and thoughtful problem solving.

The following assessments are calibrated to measure the thinking skills of college and university students

CCTST: all disciplines and fields

HSRT: Health Sciences and health care related fields

BCTST: Business disciplines and related fields

TER: all disciplines and fields

LSRP: (law and legal studies, government and public policy related fields

MDCTI: Military and Defense Critical Thinking Inventory

CCT-G835: scientists, technologists or doctoral preparation

Engaging problems and making decisions using critical thinking must include both thinking skills and the motivation to use those skills. For a complete comprehensive measurement of whether students are ‘willing and able’ to think well, it is recommended that both skills and mindset attributes be measured.

Contact us to discuss your assessment goals and needs.

Seven critical thinking attributes are needed to engage complex problems, to evaluate claims, and to spot false promises. These attributes are recognized cross-culturally worldwide as the essential complement to critical thinking skills.

  • Truth-seeking: Asking for reasons and evidence in pursuit of best knowledge.
  • Open-mindedness: Being tolerant of diverse points of view.
  • Analyticity: Considering the consequences of actions (or inaction).
  • Systematicity: The habit of taking an organized approach.
  • Confidence in Reasoning: Reliance on well-reasoned judgments.
  • Inquisitiveness: Being always interested in learning.
  • Maturity of Judgment: The habit of making timely and thoughtful judgments

These Insight Assessment tools are designed to assess the mindset attributes that influence students’ capacity to learn and to effectively apply critical thinking skills at the higher education level:

Engaging problems and making decisions using critical thinking must include both thinking skills and the motivation to use those skills. For a complete comprehensive measurement of whether students are ‘willing and able’ to think well, it is recommended that both skills and mindset attributes be measured.

Contact us for more information or a complimentary project quote.

Easy to read, easy to use objective metrics on the strengths and weaknesses of key aspects of thinking.

Insight Assessment clients depend on our high quality test-taker data and clear, concise analytics. They know that our comprehensive reports provide the insights that lead to solutions.

The goal of any testing project should be to obtain high-integrity data that provides specific and relevant information that can further the goals of the individual, program or organization being studied.  Data must be presented in formats that inspire new insights and drive evidence-based decision making. Each Insight Assessment test instrument has been crafted to provide a wide range of information, statistical and demographic, about individuals and/or groups.  Reports,  generated immediately after conclusion of testing, can be used to support advising, placement and research. 

Clients receive the Assessment Report package with the purchase of all testing options.  


The Assessment Report package includes:

  • Insight Assessment individual reportsIndividual 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 groupImages from Insight Assessment Group Reports
    • 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.

Customized Analytic and Report Options include:

  • The Assessment Report package, PLUS:
  • Custom report preparation to address specific  accreditation standards, integration of agency data into self-study reports, preparation of materials for executive briefings, or public presentations
  • Enhanced graphics for reports to funding agencies and stakeholder groups
  • Periodic, in-depth group analysis reports, multi-site analyses, ongoing analyses of group differences.
  • preparation of local or regional norms for group comparison,
  • E-testing automatic PDF push of assessment results to meet your reporting needs.
  • Customized test result delivery when high impact decisions depend on the depth of interpretation of assessment data or its presentation.
  • Ongoing support from Insight Assessment to manage your testing plan and results reporting to match your organization’s needs (Service plan options)

Options for Customized Assessment Reports: 

Insight Assessment clients can customize their results package with additional analyses, graphics, and interpretative text discussing their scores in relationship to their particular goals and objectives. Each customized report package is designed and tailored to best meet your needs. Pricing for customized reporting is individually negotiated.

To see a sample individual report for the California Critical Thinking Skills Test


Contact us to receive objective and relevant results, analytics you can trust.


Whether you wish to assess individuals or groups, Insight Assessment reports provide the data integrity and objective analysis you need to document thinking skills and attributes.


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  

Follow Us
© 2021 Insight Assessment a division of California Academic Press

Contact Insight Assessment