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Nurturing a Lifelong Learning Mindset – Part 1

Having strong critical thinking skills is only half the equation. You can be skilled at thinking, but if you fail to apply those skills to learning and problem-solving, the quality of your decision-making will suffer.

Cultivating a lifelong learning mindset leads to the consistent intention to apply your critical thinking.

Do you have strong thinking habits of mind?

Following is a questionnaire developed by Insight Assessment researchers, Peter A. Facione, Noreen C. Facione and Carol A. Gittens. This simple survey does not rate critical thinking skills; instead, it asks you to reflect upon your own behavior over the past two days.   You will, then, self-rate yourself on whether you manifest a positive, ambivalent, or negative tendency toward engaging in thoughtful, reflective, and fair-minded judgments about what to believe and/or what to do.

Evaluate Your Own Mindset for Critical Thinking (Self-Rating Form)

Answer “yes” or “no” to each of the statements, below.

Can you name any specific instances, over the past two days, when:

  1. I was courageous enough to ask tough questions about some of my longest held and most cherished beliefs?
    Yes/No
  2. I backed away from questions that might undercut some of my longest held and most cherished beliefs?
    Yes/No
  3. I showed tolerance toward the beliefs, ideas, or opinions of someone with whom I disagreed?
    Yes/No
  4. I tried to find information to build up my side of an argument but not the other side?
    Yes/No
  5. I tried to think ahead and anticipate the consequences of various options?
    Yes/No
  6. I laughed at what other people said and made fun of their beliefs, values, opinion, or points of views?
    Yes/No
  7. I made a serious effort to be analytical about the foreseeable outcomes of my decisions?
    Yes/No
  8. I manipulated information to suit my own purposes?
    Yes/No
  9. I encouraged peers not to dismiss out of hand the opinions and ideas other people offered?
    Yes/No
  10. I acted with disregard for the possible adverse consequences of my choices
    Yes/No
  11. I organized, for myself, a thoughtfully systematic approach to a question or issue?
    Yes/No
  12. I jumped in and tried to solve a problem without first thinking about how to approach it?
    Yes/No
  13. I approached a challenging problem with confidence that I could think it through?
    Yes/No
  14. I, instead of working through a question for myself, took the easy way out and asked someone else for the answer?
    Yes/No
  15. I read a report, newspaper, or book chapter or watched the world news or a documentary, just to learn something new?
    Yes/No
  16. I put zero effort into learning something new until I saw the immediate utility?
    Yes/No
  17. I showed how strong I was by being willing to honestly reconsider a decision?
    Yes/No
  18. I showed how strong I was by refusing to change my mind?
    Yes/No
  19. I attended to variations in circumstances, contexts, and situations in coming to a decision?
    Yes/No
  20. I refused to reconsider my position on an issue in light of differences in context, situations, or circumstances?
    Yes/No

Tally 5 points for every “Yes” on odd numbered questions and for every “No” on even numbered ones. If your total is 70 or above, you are rating your disposition toward critical thinking, over the past two days, as generally positive. Scores of 50, or lower, indicate a self-rating that is averse or hostile toward critical thinking, over the past two days. Scores between 50 and 70 suggest that you are displaying an ambivalent or mixed, overall, disposition toward critical thinking over the two day time period. 

This article is adapted with permission from Cultivating a Critical Thinking Mindset (Measured Reasons). More free resources, including Characteristics of Strong Critical Thinkers can be found in the Insight Assessment Resources library.

group of adult lifelong learners

Insight Assessment provides validated research-based multilingual tools such as the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory (CCTDI), which measures seven critical thinking habits of mind for lifelong learners and the California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST) which gives scores on overall thinking and the five components of a critical thinking skillset. We are proud of our uniquely comprehensive array of critical thinking skills and lifelong learning mindset products calibrated, specifically, to provide insight and development for educational, professional, business, health care, defense and legal industry use.

Want more to learn more?

  • Look for Parts 2 and 3 of  the the Nurturing a Lifelong Learning Mindset series:
  • Download our free app, Critical Thinking Insight, for free sample questions and in app purchasable self-tests such as My Thinking Skills – Adult Level, My Thinking Mindset – Adult Level, My Leadership Potential – Adult Level, My Learning Mind – Ages 5-10 and My Learning Mind – Ages 11-17 .
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