The Importance of Critical Thinking in Student Success

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Critical thinking, student retention and student success initiatives

Critical thinking is the vital link between student retention and student success.

Being willing and able to think well, engaging  in important issues and resolving key problems, is vital for student academic success.

Critical thinking predicts student success. 

Regardless of degree program, strong critical thinking predicts college student success, professional licensure, job hire, and government service rankWhen thinking skills and mindset are well matched to the demands of the academic program, student retention and graduation rates rise. Achievements continue with students reaching their career and life goals. Critical thinking is a life skill college students need to succeed in our complex society.  

However, when students lack essential critical thinking and the mental disciplines to persevere until goals are achieved, they often struggle to succeed.

That’s why educators are committed to helping students develop these critical thinking skills and habits of mind. Increasingly student retention programs focus on building the same critical thinking skills identified as necessary for student success. 

Student retention is built on critical thinking skills

Given the advantages of strong critical thinking, more educational resources are being dedicated to support teaching/learning centers and personalized advising programs.

Strength in essential reasoning skills and learning orientation attributes is a solid foundation for student success and student retention initiatives.

Proactively incorporating thinking assessment into student success initiatives provides value to individual students and the entire student body. Our clients use individual student assessments to guide placement and learning support; they depend on the group metrics for the overall assessment of programs, curricula and to demonstrate the achievement of learning objectives.

How critical thinking data is used to improve student success

From admissions to graduation, students benefit from well-designed program of thinking assessment data via:

  • Admissions: There is simple, valid, and cost-effective way to predict which applicants are most likely to succeed at graduate or undergraduate academic programs . Across the nation, schools and program now incorporate scores on critical thinking and quantitative reasoning skills as a factor in their admissions decision. These instruments provide an in-depth profile of applicants’ thinking skills in analyzing and solving problems, indicating strengths and areas growth is needed. Many also assess critical thinking mindset attributes to select students who will be inquisitive, organized, foresightful, truth-seeking, open-minded, and engage problems with a maturity of judgment. 
  • Student Placement:  Are students ready for their educational experience? Many researchers have studied effective teaching and learning as well as successful transition or reentry to educational programs. Their data demonstrates that learning experiences must be designed to challenge, but not discourage. A threshold can be set to highlight acceptable strength in critical thinking for your program. Individuals who fail to achieve the threshold will best benefit from first attending training programs aimed at growing critical thinking skills. 
  • Advising & Student Retention:  Critical thinking is one of the central competencies that must be assessed to help advisors direct students in program and course selection. Combined with writing skills, reading skills and language comprehension, it provides relevant view of student strength and weakness. Many schools dedicate resources to create and maintain teaching and learning centers to help all students to succeed. Identifying students with critical thinking weaknesses permits clients to focus student success initiatives where they can do the most good.
  • Personal Development:  A measure of overall critical thinking skills, benchmarked against a national comparison group, helps students make a realistic assessment of their strengths and weaknesses in critical thinking. Individual skills assessment informs them about what types of thinking exercises will be most beneficial to them. Students (and often parents) find the analysis provided in the personal assessments valuable as they prepare for their future careers.

Student success depends on critical thinking skills and mindset

Support student achievement: assess thinking skills

Educational institutions worldwide depend on our measurement tools to evaluate critical thinking and quantitative reasoning skills.

Insight Assessment offers a robust set of critical thinking instruments designed for different populations of test-takers in educational levels including 2 year colleges, 4 year colleges and universities, and professional programs.  Assessments can be focused on general education requirements or the evaluation of the learning outcomes for a particular program or major. The high quality research-based critical thinking measurement tools, scoring support services and comprehensive national comparison percentiles offered by Insight Assessment provide great value across campus programs and throughout a student’s academic career..

The reliable and objective data delivered in the Insight Assessment report package includes individual test taker reports as well as comprehensive group analytics. Insight Assessment’s clients use our world-leading measurement instruments to evaluate critical thinking and quantitative reasoning skills of students and program applicants.

Call us at 650-697-5628 to discuss how your student success and student retention programs will benefit from including assessment of thinking skills.

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