How to Optimize Thinking Data Before Testing Starts

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Assessment results are only as good as the data you get and use. It’s often easier to accumulate data than it is to be able to use it effectively. Don’t implement a critical thinking assessment program without making sure the individual and/or group data delivered will be objective high impact and relevant.  When you make your decision, consider these essential criteria:

  • Choose the right test: When thinking about measuring critical thinking, the first decision is what you need to assess: strength in thinking skills, the reasoning mindsets that motivate an individual to apply thinking skills, or both.   Engaging problems and making decisions using critical thinking involves both skills and habits of mind. For a complete assessment of a test taker’s critical thinking, Insight Assessment recommends that both skills and mindset be measured.
    • The most informative assessments provide objective measurements of strengths and weaknesses on core component thinking skills or attributes in addition to an overall score.
  • Know your test takers: Accurate measurement of critical thinking skills requires that the test be calibrated to fit the likely skill range of the planned test taker group. Effective assessments engage and challenge test takers with scenarios and situations relevant to their grade level or professional interests in a variety of formats.
    • To perform well on a critical thinking test, the test taker must be able to read the question scenario and the answer choices, and to understand the question being asked. Some aspects of this process involve critical thinking skills of interpretation and analysis.  It is important that reading issues are not significant barriers for the test taker.
    • Language is also a consideration when assigning a critical thinking test.  Students or workers who are using other than their native language may have difficulty demonstrating their true critical thinking skill if their language comprehension is inadequate to understand the question being asked.
  • Data needs context: The relevance of assessment data is maximized when you are able to relate the scores of your individual test-takers or entire group to appropriate comparison groups. Norm referenced scoring provides powerful metrics to evaluate the relative strength of the performance of test takers.  Test scores without comparison percentiles are essentially one dimensional; while you are able to compare individual test scores to other members of your group, you are not able to determine the relative strength of the group in comparison to others in the population.
    • Reviewers, such as accrediting bodies, recognize the benefits of external benchmarking and often require this evidence as an indicator of organizational effectiveness or as documentation for self-studies
  • Optimize data accessibility: Data needs to be available in formats suitable for your purposes.  Both individual and group reports should provide relevant data that can be analyzed to provide benefits at the individual test taker level or at program level.
    • Avoid dilution of key indicators. Be sure you are collecting data in a targeted way by defining questions or groupings that allow you to compile data to solve challenges. Look for a test system that permits aggregation and re-aggregation of test taker scores to extract maximum insights.

Contact us today. Our assessment specialists will help you you capture high impact and relevant critical thinking data using our validated test instruments, flexible online administration and superior reporting system.

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