The most effective way to measure critical thinking is to use a validated critical thinking skills test to assess the skills used to solve problems and make decisions AND to use a critical thinking mindset measure to assess the level of the person’s consistent internal motivation or willingness to use his or her critical thinking skills when it counts in decision making.
Costly mistakes and poor judgments might be the result of deficient thinking skills, but an equally likely cause is a mindset that predisposes the decision-maker to biased, hasty or superficial analysis of the situation at hand.
Critical Thinking Skills
Having the skill to interpret a situation and correctly infer that a problem exists would not be sufficient if we then cannot analyze why the problem continues to exist and then explain and evaluate our attempts to solve the problem. Interpretation, inference, analysis explanation and evaluation are all critical thinking skills.
- A valid and reliable assessment of an individual’s critical thinking skills must challenge the individual to demonstrate all of these skills over a range of difficult problem situations that is calibrated to match the level of their decision responsibility.
Critical Thinking Mindset
Critical thinking mindset determines how disposed a person will be to work to achieve goals and to engage and resolve significant problems.
- Do they have the integrity to honestly define problem situations, the disposition to take an organized approach to seeking out best possible solutions, the tolerance to listen to all points of view, the ability to reconsider when the evidence points to the need for a new appraisal? These are only a few of the characteristics included in a valid and reliable assessment of critical thinking mindset.
For a complete assessment of an individual’s thinking, it is essential to measure both skills and mindset. After more than 30 years of assessing critical thinking students of all ages and in working adults from all types of workplaces, the researchers at Insight Assessment have learned that there is an array of reasoning skills and mindset attributes that are predictive of success in both life and work. All are important for reliable reasoning and decision-making.
Insight Assessment test instruments for children and adults include skills and mindset tools that can be paired for the most comprehensive information about the strengths and weaknesses in thinking. We also offer a variety of two part tests that measure both skills and mindset. Contact us to learn more.