College Student Success

College Student Success (CSS) Assessment
College Student Success

College Student Success – Mindset and Reasoning Skills (CSS) measures the personal attributes and reasoning skills which enable a person to achieve success as a college student. The CSS is designed for use by adult re-entry students, high school students, and current undergraduates. The College Student Success is the instrument of choice for evaluating applicants, student advising, and student retention.  It is used by high school college placement and guidance counselors, student success and student retention program offices in colleges and universities, and academic success consultants.

Population: The CSS is calibrated for adult re-entry students, high school students, and current undergraduates

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

Support Materials: CSS User Manual includes all needed information for the administration and interpretation of individual and group scores. A separate College Student Success Debrief Document, which client may elect to provide to the persons who are assessed, is available at no additional charge.

Specs: Max 80 minutes timed administration.

  • 25 minutes allotted for 74 Likert-style Agree-Disagree items – college success mindset attribute belief, value, and expectation statements.
  • 55 minutes allotted for 40 engaging, college student focused scenario-based reasoning skill evaluation questions.

Deliverables: Group graphics with statistical summary of scores; Excel spreadsheet of responses to all custom demographic questions, and all scores for each person tested. Optional individual score reports for administrators and/or test takers.

Results Reported (Actionable Metrics):

  • College Success Mindset Attributes
  1. Motivation to Learn – Eagerness to acquire the knowledge and skills required for mastery
  2. Drive to Succeed – Appetite for setting goals and putting forth effort to achieve them
  3. Judgment – Expectation of seeking multiple perspectives and making well-considered decisions
  4. Intellectual Integrity – Courage to follow reasons and evidence; drive to seek truth
  5. Foresight – Approaching problems with a view toward anticipating consequences
  6. Resilience – Flexible, seeks opportunity and willing to adapt to changing demands
  7. Creativity –Approaches topics, issues, and ideas in an imaginative, ingenious, and original way
  • College Success Reasoning Skills and an OVERALL rating:
  1. OVERALL Reasoning Skills: Sustained use of critical thinking to form reasoned judgments
  2. Reasoning in Uncertainty – Critical thinking in ambiguous, risky, and uncertain contexts
  3. Reasoning with Precision – Critical thinking in precisely defined, logically rigorous contexts
  4. Analytical Reasoning – – Accurate identification of the problem and decision-critical elements
  5. Evaluative Reasoning – Assessing the credibility of claims and the strength of arguments
  6. Quantitative Reasoning – Critical thinking in contexts involving numerical information


  • Each college success mindset attribute is scored on a 10-60-point scale divided into four qualitative categories:  (Not Manifested, Inconsistent, Positive, and Strong Positive).
  • Each college success reasoning skill metric is scored on a 100-point scale with five corresponding qualitative ratings (Not Manifested, Weak, Moderate, Strong, and Superior).

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

Culturally Competent Translations: English and Spanish.

Licenses to Administer: Sold globally exclusively to public and private educational institutions; DOE, NSF, NIH, RWJ, and other grant-funded projects; higher education program evaluation consultants, guidance counselors; 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, all included with your purchase of account setup and assessment use licenses. 

  • Instrument selection: We help the client find the academic assessment instrument(s) which best fit the educational level and broad subject matter area of the individuals to be assessed.
  • Administration strategies: Clients can keep test takers anonymous or use personal identifiers; sampling methods can measure an aggregated group profile without testing everyone.
  • Privacy Protection: We assist the client with privacy protection strategies, including, if needed, completely anonymous double-blind assessments.
  • Assessment logistics: We help clients assess program applicants onsite or remotely, gather pretest/post-test learning outcomes data, and generate individual or group logins.
  • 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.
  • 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 end dates and choosing whether to display on-screen assessment results to the individual test-taker.
  • 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 demographic data that the client may have included).
  • 24/7/365 emergency technical support for our client testing administrators.

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.

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.

Seven College Student Success Mindset Attributes

  • Motivation to Learn: A person who is highly motivated to learn is eager to acquire the knowledge and skills required to master new subjects, processes, systems, and procedures. This person is inquisitive and expects to continue learning as a means of responding to challenges and as satisfying in its own right.
  • Drive to Succeed: A person with the drive to succeed has goals and puts forth effort to reach those goals. The drive to succeed is a strong indicator of persistence, sustained effort, and accomplishing what one sets out to do. Whether they set their own tasks or are given tasks by others, people in whom this drive is strong feel the need to succeed.
  • Judgment: A person with judgment seeks multiple perspectives on any given idea or issue. This person strives to avoid taking an “all-or-nothing” approach. When a decision is needed urgently, a person with good judgment will make a decision, but when there is more time the person with good judgment will give the matter fuller consideration. A person with good judgment is willing to reconsider decisions if new information comes to light.
  • Intellectual Integrity: Intellectual integrity is the discipline of striving to be thorough and honest, to learn the truth or to reach the best decision possible in each situation. A person with intellectual integrity has a driving desire to follow reasons and evidence courageously wherever they may lead. Individuals who strongly manifest intellectual integrity value objectivity, evidence-based decision making, and the courageous, fair-minded, and complete pursuit of the best possible knowledge in any given situation.
  • Foresight: Foresight is the habit of approaching problems with a view toward anticipating consequences and outcomes. A foresightful person values clarity and the accurate interpretation of complex problem situations. Individuals who strongly manifest foresight value getting the problem right, understanding the reasons pro and con, and projecting the likely outcomes of various options.
  • Resilience: A resilient person is adaptive when they encounter changing demands. They understand the value of flexibility when change is needed and can easily envision a change in routine as an opportunity rather than a barrier to growth.
  • Creativity: Creativity as applied to thinking, learning, decision making, and problem solving is the tendency to approach topics, issues, and ideas in an imaginative, ingenious, and original way. The creative thinker engages problems with energy and enthusiasm, and seeks to explore new models while keeping goals in focus.

Essential College Student Success Reasoning Skills

  • OVERALL: The OVERALL Reasoning Skills score is a holistic score.  The Overall score is the best indicator of a person’s intellectual capacity to achieve deep learning at the undergraduate level and beyond.  This score describes overall strength in using reasoning to analyze, interpret, evaluate, integrate, and comprehend information presented in texts and with charts and graphs.  High Overall scores are attained by sustained, focused, and integrated application of the specific reasoning skills measured.
  • Reasoning in Uncertainty: Reasoning well in contexts of uncertainty and ambiguity is critical for college level learners. A strong score on this scale indicates excellence in the core reasoning skill of drawing well warranted, justified inferences in situations involving probabilistic inductive reasoning, comparative this-is-like-that reasoning, empirical facts-up-to-theories reasoning, and in situations requiring value judgments. Strengths in this domain enable the problem solver to find the solution that has the strongest likelihood of success, given the information at hand.
  • Reasoning with Precision: Reasoning in precise, tightly defined contexts requires strong analytical and inference skills to determine exact logical consequences given a specified set of assumptions or conditions. Deductive reasoning plays a critical role when reasoning in precise contexts. Strengths in this domain enable the problem solver to see the applications and the implications of information, assumptions, directives, policies, regulations and protocols which both shape and constrain possible outcomes.
  • Analytical Reasoning: 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.
  • Evaluative Reasoning: Evaluative skills are used to assess the credibility of the claims people make or post, and to assess the quality of the reasoning people display when they make arguments or give explanations. We can also apply our evaluation skills to assess the quality of many other elements that are important for good thinking, such as analyses, interpretations, explanations, inferences, options, opinions, beliefs, hypotheses, proposals, and decisions. People with strong evaluation skills can judge the quality of arguments and the credibility of speakers and writers.
  • Quantitative Reasoning – Numeracy: Quantitative reasoning (Numeracy) is the ability to solve quantitative reasoning problems and to make well-reasoned judgments in a variety of quantitative contexts. More than being able to compute a solution to a mathematical equation, numeracy includes the understanding of how quantitative information is gathered, manipulated, represented, and communicated verbally and visually, such as in texts, graphs, charts, tables, and diagrams.

The College Student Success (CSS) Report Package includes group summary reports for each group and sub-group in the sample and an optional individual test-taker report for each person assessed.

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 specialists 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 and all cognitive score metrics). At the option of the client, these also include the responses to custom demographic questions added by the client to the assessment profile, and percentile scores corresponding to the external comparison group selected by the client.
  • Presentation-ready tables and graphic representations of the score distribution for OVERALL critical thinking skills and for the additional cognitive skill metrics.
  • Organizational and institutional clients who have added custom demographic questions can generate sub-group level reports for these variables, or for specific testing sessions or time periods.   

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

  • Each critical thinking mindset attribute is scored on a 10-60-point scale divided into qualitative categories (Not Manifested, Inconsistent, Positive, and Strong Positive).
  • Each critical thinking skill metric is scored on a 100-point scale with five corresponding qualitative ratings (Not Manifested, Weak, Moderate, Strong, and Superior).
  • The Individual Reports can pushed as PDF files to an email address of the client’s choosing, e.g., to school or departmental office. 
  • Organizational and institutional clients can control whether individual reports are made available to the test-taker.
  • A short PDF assessment report debrief document, which can be distributed by the client to the people who were assessed.


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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