Critical Thinking Assessments for Higher Education

College graduation. Higher Education students celebrate by throwing mortarboards; critical thinking predicts success Critical Thinking Skills Sphere 7 Thinking Habits of Mind
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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.

Validated, research based critical thinking assessments for academic disciplines

INSIGHT Development Program can easily be integrated into your assessment processes. It offers a series of online thinking skills and mindset enrichment modules with accompanying exercises, access to an assessment metric and performance reporting tools.

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.

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.

Contact us today to learn more and receive price quote for our higher education thinking assessments


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.

It’s easy to get started.

Simply use the Client Contact Us form to tell us what your goals are. A client services representative will assist you to find the best solution for your needs with a fast, efficient response.  You can also call us at (650) 697-5628; we can get you ready to start your project immediately.   If you’ve already found what you need, you can directly request a price quote.

For information on assessment selection, pricing, requesting a price quote or purchaser requirements, click here.

A commitment to the highest quality service

Insight Assessment is committed to providing the highest quality customer service for INSIGHT Development Program and our test instruments.

Our goal is to help you develop the optimal thinking improvement solution for your organization’s particular needs.  A strong project plan is important for success. Our expert customer service team will work with you to answer your questions about training options, measurement design, instrument selection and product  administration. Let us put together a free price quote for you.

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Contact us so we can provide a free quote of costs for your planned project.  

Researchers, doctoral students and 501(c)3 community service agencies: be sure to ask about our internal grant program. Call us any time at 650-697-5628.  Let’s discuss your project and think together about how Insight Assessment can best assist you. We look forward to working with you to make your critical thinking project highly successful both for you and for your organization.

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