California Critical Thinking Test

CCTST Family of Tests measures critical thinking skills
California Critical Thinking Test

The California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST) is an educational assessment that measures all the core reasoning skills needed for reflective decision-making. The CCTST provides valid and reliable data on critical thinking skills of individuals and of groups.  It is designed for use with undergraduate and graduate students. It is available in many languages and its OVERALL skills score can be benchmarked using one of many percentile comparisons. Clients most commonly use the CCTST for admissions, advising and retention, studies of curriculum effectiveness, accreditation, and the documentation of student learning outcomes.

Population: CCTST is calibrated for undergraduate and graduate level college students across the full spectrum of disciplines and fields of study.  

Administration: Administer at any time, in any location with our user-friendly, encrypted, online, multi-lingual interface.

Support Materials: The CCTST User Manual includes all needed information about administering the assessment and interpreting the resulting individual and group scores.

Specs: 55 minutes timed administration; 40 engaging, scenario-based questions

Deliverables: Group graphics with statistical summary of scores; Excel spreadsheet of responses of all custom questions, and all scores for each person tested. Optional individual score reports for trainers and trainees.

Results Reported with a brief statement of what each metric represents:

  • OVERALL Critical Thinking Skills– Sustained use of critical thinking to form reasoned judgments
  • Analysis – Accurate identification of the problem and decision-critical elements
  • Interpretation – Discovering and determining significance and contextual meaning
  • Inference – Drawing warranted and logical conclusions from reasons and evidence
  • Evaluation – Assessing credibility of claims and the strength of arguments
  • Explanation – Providing the evidence, reasons, assumptions, or rationale for judgments and decisions
  • Induction – Reasoned judgment in ambiguous, risky, and uncertain contexts
  • Deduction – Reasoned judgment in precisely defined, logically rigorous contexts
  • Numeracy – Sustained use of critical thinking skills in quantitative contexts (quantitative reasoning)

Scoring: All of the CCTST metrics are on a 100-point scale with a corresponding qualitative rating (Superior, Strong, Moderate, Weak, Not Manifested).

Percentile Scores: Population comparison percentile scores (external validity criterion): 2-YR college students, 4-YR college students, US Graduate and Professional, STEM Undergrads, Research University Undergrads, Globally Ranked Baccalaureate and Graduates, Regional Open-Admissions Baccalaureate

Optional Custom Questions: At no additional cost clients can add up to ten client-specific custom descriptive survey questions to the assessment profile to enable sub-group reports.

Culturally Competent Translations: English, Arabic, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Dutch, Fr. Canadian, German, Indonesian-Bahasa, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, and Vietnamese languages.

License to Administer the CCTST: Sold globally exclusively to public and private educational institutions; DOE, NSF, NIH, RWJ and other grant-funded projects; higher education program evaluation consultants; doctoral dissertation scholars; and other government and agency level entities.

Comprehensive assessment support services are available to not-for-profit educational organizations, government agencies, NGOs, dissertation scholars, and funded research clients.

Starting with an initial consultation to learn about your project, our experienced assessment specialists support your project in multiple ways. 

  • Instrument selection: We help the client find the academic assessment instrument which best fits the educational level and broad subject matter area of the individuals to be assessed at no additional charge.
  • Administration strategies: (e.g., anonymous or with personal identifiers, the use of client-specific questions, the possibility of group sampling to achieve an aggregated group profile, etc.) No additional charge.
  • Privacy Protection: We assist the client with privacy protection strategies, including, if needed, completely anonymous double-blind assessments. No additional charge.
  • Assessment logistics: (e.g., assessing program applicants onsite or remotely, gathering pretest or posttest learning outcomes data, generating individual or group logins.) No additional charge.
  • Introducing client-specific custom questions: Clients can enable organizing, managing, and analyzing the assessment data that they plan to collect by introducing up to ten client-designed demographic profile questions. We assist clients with this process. No additional charge.
  • Client assessment administration setup: We orient the client to the use of their assessment administration interface by walking them through the processes of creating a testing assignment, including designating the start and ending dates and choosing whether to display on-screen assessment results to the individual test-taker. This service is subject to a new client setup charge.
  • Report Generation: We orient clients on the use of the online report generation tool that produces customized group reports, aggregating and disaggregating data by the demographic variables they have collected (e.g., Training group, admission cohort, school, program, or any other custom question data that the client may have included) Included with new client setup.
  • 24/7/365 emergency technical support for our client testing administrators. No charge.

We demonstrate how easy it is to administer assessments even to very young students using our intuitive, browser-based, multilingual online testing system on almost any device: computer, tablet, or smartphone. No additional charge.

Preview Packs enable future clients to experience the intended assessment tool in exactly the same way it will be used in their planned project. The user manual and two logins are included with purchase of preview pack.

CCTST score metrics: OVERALL Reasoning Skills (a holistic score for critical thinking skills), Analysis, Interpretation, Evaluation, Explanation, Inference, Deduction, Induction and Numeracy (eight cognitive skill scores to focus future development and training). Items are drawn from a scientifically developed and tested item pool.

OVERALL Reasoning Skills: The Reasoning Skills OVERALL score describes overall strength in using reasoning to form reflective judgments about what to believe or what to do. To score well overall, the test taker must excel in the sustained, focused, and integrated application of core thinking skills measured on this test, including analysis, interpretation, inference, evaluation, explanation, induction and deduction. The Overall score predicts the capacity for success in educational or workplace settings which demand reasoned decision making and thoughtful problem solving.

Analysis: Analytical skills are used to identify assumptions, reasons, themes, and the evidence used in making arguments or offering explanations. Analytical skills enable us to consider all the key elements in any given situation, and to determine how those elements relate to one another. People with strong analytical skills notice important patterns and details.  People use analysis to gather the most relevant information from spoken language, documents, signs, charts, graphs, and diagrams.

Interpretation: Interpretation is the process of discovering, determining, or assigning meaning.  Interpretation skills can be applied to anything, e.g., written messages, charts, diagrams, maps, graphs, memes, and verbal and non-verbal exchanges. People apply their interpretive skills to behaviors, events, and social interactions when deciding what they think something means in a given context.

Evaluation: Evaluative reasoning skills enable us to assess the credibility of sources of information and the claims they make.  We use these skills to determine the strength or weakness of arguments.  Applying evaluation skills we can judge the quality of analyses, interpretations, explanations, inferences, options, opinions, beliefs, ideas, proposals, and decisions.  Strong explanation skills can support high-quality evaluation by providing the evidence, reasons, methods, criteria, or assumptions behind the claims made and the conclusions reached. 

Inference: Inference skills enable us to draw conclusions from reasons, evidence, observations, experiences, or our values and beliefs.  Using Inference, we can predict the most likely consequences of the options we may be considering. Inference enables us to see the logical consequences of the assumptions we may be making. Sound inferences rely on accurate information. People with strong inference skills draw logical or highly reliable conclusions using all forms of analogical, probabilistic, empirical, and mathematical reasoning.

Explanation: Explanation is the process of justifying what we have decided to do or what we have decided to believe. People with strong explanation skills provide the evidence, methods, and considerations they actually relied on when making their judgment. Explanations can include our assumptions, reasons, values, and beliefs. Strong explanations enable others to understand and to evaluate our decisions. 

Induction: Inductive reasoning relies on estimating likely outcomes. Decision making in contexts of uncertainty relies on inductive reasoning. Inductive decisions can be based on analogies, case studies, prior experience, statistical analyses, simulations, hypotheticals, trusted testimony, and the patterns we may recognize in a set of events, experiences, symptoms, or behaviors. Inductive reasoning always leaves open the possibility, however remote, that a highly probable conclusion might be mistaken. Although it does not yield certainty, inductive reasoning can provide a solid basis for confidence in our conclusions and a reasonable basis for action.

Deduction: Deductive reasoning is rigorously logical and clear cut. Deductive skills are used whenever we determine the precise logical consequences of a given set of rules, conditions, beliefs, values, policies, principles, procedures, or terminology. Deductive reasoning is deciding what to believe or what to do in precisely defined contexts that rely on strict rules and logic.  Deductive validity results in a conclusion which absolutely cannot be false, if the assumptions or premises from which we started all are true. Deductive validity leaves no room for uncertainty. That is, unless we decide to change the very meanings of our words or the grammar of our language.

Numeracy: Numeracy refers to the ability to make judgments based on quantitative information in a variety of contexts. People with strong numeracy can describe how quantitative information is gathered, manipulated, and represented textually, verbally, and visually in graphs, charts, tables, and diagrams. Numeracy requires all the core critical thinking skills. Numeracy includes being thoughtfully reflective while interpreting the meaning of information expressed in charts, graphs, or text formats, analyzing those elements, drawing accurate inferences from that information, and explaining and evaluating how those conclusions were reached. 

The California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST) Report Package includes an individual test-taker report for each person assessed and group summary reports for each group and sub-group in the sample.

Reports are generated immediately after the conclusion of testing and are available for clients to download making real time assessment possible. Read more about how our customer support services work with clients to select their reporting options on our Services tab or contact us for a consultation.

Group analytics include:Images from Insight Assessment Group Reports

    • Clients can generate and download Excel spreadsheet files of all scores (OVERALL, Percentile ranking and all cognitive score metrics). At the option of the client, these also include the responses to demographic questions added by the client to the assessment profile, and percentile score corresponding to the external comparison group selected by the client.
    • Presentation-ready tables and graphic representation of the score distribution for OVERALL critical thinking skills and for the additional cognitive skill metrics.
    • Customers who have added group designation custom questions can generate sub-group level reports for these variables, or for specific testing sessions or time periods.

Optional Individual Test-Taker Reports include:Sample report showing Individual report on critical thinking attributes test (CCTDI)

    • An overall score of critical thinking skills (OVERALL Score). OVERALL is reported on a 100-point scale accompanied by a qualitative rating (Superior, Strong, Moderate, Weak, Not Manifested), and a comparison percentile score.
    • Scores for each cognitive skill metric. These metrics are scored on a 100-point scale and are accompanied by a categorical interpretation of the strength of the score indicating areas of strength and areas for future development.
    • The Individual Test Taker Report can be pushed to an email address of the client’s choosing (for example, to an admissions office email, institutional assessment email, dean’s office email, etc.).

The client controls whether individual reports are made available to the test-taker.

Need to expedite your project?  We can have your first online testing assignment available for your students within 24 hours. Contact us today or get started by calling 650-697-5628 and speaking with one of our assessment specialists today.

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