College Students Need Critical Thinking

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The importance of critical thinking for student success

“Students must navigate a wide range of issues to achieve success.” 

Research about college students often focuses on how the experience of attending college impacts and shapes their lives. Development as human beings continues throughout our lives. However, the decade or so from late adolescence through young adulthood is particularly important, because during these years students are:

  • developing the competencies they will need to make a living in a complex society;
  • learning to manage their emotions;
  • moving through autonomy toward interdependence;
  • developing mature interpersonal relationships;
  • establishing their personal identity;
  • developing and refining their sense of purpose;
  • developing a greater integration of who they are with what they say and do in all circumstances.

Strong reasoning skills and a thinking mindset are needed to successfully navigate these many worthy endeavors.***  

Critical thinking skills are important factors for success of college students in their academic, professional and personal lives.

Why assess student critical thinking?

               To increase success and retention

 A level admission playing field is necessary, not only for first-time-in-college freshmen, but also for gap year applicants, transfers, returning adult learners, part-time students, single parents, veterans, home schooled students, and others.

A thinking mindset and strong critical thinking skills is integral to student success. This is true for traditional and non-traditional groups of applicants and enrollees.  Assessing critical thinking provides the objective information needed to determine how well students are doing.

Student mindset toward learning depends on strengths in how inquisitive, truth-seeking, organized, foresightful, and how confident in reasoning they are. Core critical thinking skills are based on how well they can analyze problems, make well-founded interpretations, draw reasoned inferences in quantitative and non-quantitative contexts, explain, and evaluate points of view.

Educators recognize that building these critical thinking skills and habits early is key to student success, so assessing critical thinking student learning outcomes is being prioritized.  Objective assessment is the first step to find out which new students are weak in critical thinking skills or lack the mindset needed to get the most out of their college opportunity. The data gathered can focus student retention efforts, as well as inform selective admissions or outcomes assessment.

display of 4 graphics from an Insight Assessment group critical thinking reports


Critical thinking data to support student success

For more than 30 years, Insight Assessment has provided cost effective valid and reliable critical thinking test instruments.  We offer specialized instruments calibrated to measure the reasoning strengths and weaknesses of individuals and/or groups at the community college, college and university levels.

These tools are widely used for 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. Our assessments are being used in over 30 languages at higher education institutions across the world.

We are a leader in reasoning assessment worldwide.  Our full service solution includes:

  • presentation-ready group statistics and graphics;
  • national, regional and professional school benchmarked comparison percentiles for graduate and undergraduate students;
  • scores spreadsheets;
  • optional individual student reports;
  • multiple language testing options;
  • client customizable demographic question options;
  • same-day score reporting with 24/7 online, mobile or desktop testing;
  • plus educational discounts and much more.

Contact us or call us today (650-697-5628).  Our assessment specialists are ready to help you use critical thinking data to support student success.

***   Adapted with permission from “Solve Problems and Succeed in College,” THINK Critically, Pearson Education, 2016,  a Freshman Seminar text, authored by Facione and Gittens.

To learn more:

  1. Train critical thinking to improve student retention

  2. Insight Assessment reports and analytics

  3. 15 reasons to use Insight Assessment test instruments 


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