Critical Thinking Course Pack

Critical Thinking Course Pack

The Critical Thinking Course Pack (CT-Course) is a self-study course for the personal development of Critical Thinking Skills and Mindset. The course pack combines a personal assessment of reasoning skills and mindset with a collection of online self-study modules. Working with the guidance of a professor trainer, or studying individually at their own pace, students can focus on each specific reasoning skill and mindset attribute. Each learning module uses real-life examples and practical applications to practice the targeted skill or attribute.

How to use the CT-Course Pack

Typically students and trainees begin with the personal assessment, Critical Thinking Keys and Strategies. This personal assessment provides a profile of the individual learner’s critical thinking skills and mindset, enabling each learner to identify their strengths and areas for potential development. When this course pack is used in a group setting, the assessment data enables the guiding trainer or professor to see group strengths and weaknesses.

Under the guidance of a trainer, or in self-training mode, the learner can access the CT-Course Pack self-study modules from any online device. Modules focus the learner on specific reasoning skills and mindset attributes. Each training module is rich with relevant examples and applications and is reinforced through reflective thinking exercises. Modules are grouped to guide the learner (see Product Details Tab), but are independent and so can be completed in any order at the learner’s preference.

This program is built to fit seamlessly with any existing organizational programs designed to build critical thinking. See additional information below regarding customizing your setup of this training tool.

Population: Critical Thinking Course Pack is calibrated for college undergraduates and college prep students.

Administration: Administer at any time, in any location.

Support Material: The CT-Course Instructor’s Guide includes an expert discussion about effective strategies for developing students’ critical thinking, information about how to guide students in their use of the learning modules, and information for the instructor on how to interpret assessment scores.


    • Untimed, self-paced, (typically 45-70 minutes per) for the various learning modules selected by the trainer or the participate to use.
    • Timed 50 minutes to complete the Critical Thinking Strategies reasoning skills pretest
    • Timed 25 minutes to complete the Critical Thinking Keys mindset pretest

Currently Available Languages: All 20 of the IDP training modules are available in English, French, and Spanish. Each participant selects the language which is most comfortable for himself or herself. The Critical Thinking Keys & Strategies assessment is available currently in English and Spanish.

Topics Covered by the Learning Modules: (Detailed descriptions are on the “metrics” tab.):

  • The Big Picture
      • The Power of Critical Thinking
      • Decision-Making Traps and Releases
  • Decision Skills Series
      • Getting the Problem Right
      • Clarifying Meaning and Spotting Nonsense
      • Analyzing Spoken Arguments
      • “This -is-Like-That” Reasoning
      • “Top-Down” Reasoning Skills
      • “Bottom-Up” Reasoning Skills
      • Comparing “This-is-Like-That”, “Top-Down” and “Bottom-Up” Reasoning
      • Evaluating Alternatives
      • Logically Precise Reasoning – Deductive Reasoning
      • Reasoning in Ambiguous Contexts – Inductive Reasoning
      • Reasoning in Quantitative Contexts
      • Evaluating Credibility
  • Thinking Mindset Series
      • Fostering a Positive Critical Thinking Mindset
      • Foresightful, Driven, and Organized
      • Truth-Seeking, Judicious, and Trustful of Reason
      • Motivational, Open-Minded, and Professional
      • Adaptable, Resourceful, and Inventive
      • Committed, Dependable, and Honorable


      • Individual score reports of all metrics for each student completing the selected diagnostic assessment. Group graphics with statistical summary of scores; Excel spreadsheet of responses to all custom demographic questions, and all scores for each person assessed.
      • Unique organizational login which all the client’s participating students use to access the full set of 20 training modules. Aggregated data reports on number of logins and minutes of usage of each module by the client’s participants.

Results Reported (Actionable Metrics Assessed): For metrics measured and the other specifics related to the assessment, see Critical Thinking Keys and Strategies

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.

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; 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; we give suggestions on introducing the CT-Course Pack to prospective student participants.
  • Assessment logistics: We help clients assess program applicants onsite or remotely, gather pretest/post-test learning outcomes data, and generate individual or group logins.
  • Privacy Protection: We assist the client with privacy protection strategies, including, if needed, completely anonymous double-blind assessments.
  • 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 profile questions. We assist clients with this process.
  • 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.

Critical Thinking Course Pack Previews include (a) Online access to the initial sections of a Big Picture, a Skills, and a Mindset module. And (b) logins to experience the Keys & Strategies assessment instrument in exactly the same way it will be used in your project. The user manual and two logins are included.

The metrics assessed in the Critical Thinking Course Pack are those included in the Keys and Strategies Assessment. The reporting of results is discussed on the Reports tab.

Here is a list of the training areas and reflective self-training exercises covered in the Critical Thinking Course Pack:

Big Picture | The Power of Critical Thinking: This overview module clarifies what we mean by critical thinking, demonstrates the importance of critical thinking, and differentiates between the skills dimension and the mindset dimension of critical thinking. The module introduces the “IDEAS General Problem-Solving” process, which features the application of core critical thinking skills to genuine life and workplace decisions and problems. The module is rounded out by an easily applied evaluation process that will assist you to confidently rate the quality of a decision process.

Big Picture | Decision-Making Traps and Releases: In the workplace, as in the rest of life, all human decision-making is driven by two simultaneously functioning cognitive engines. One relies heavily on thinking shortcuts, called heuristics, to arrive quickly and confidently at judgments. The other engine is reflective, deliberative, and more thorough in analyzing situations.  The two can produce conflicting results, that push and pull that many describe as the conflict between what your head tells you and what your heart tells you. By enumerating the advantages and the risks of the Top 10 Decision-Making Traps, this module explains how to harness the advantages of each of the two systems.

Skills | Getting the Problem Right: Develop your critical thinking skills of analysis and interpretation. This module focuses on the first, and perhaps most important, step of effective problem-solving, namely getting the problem right. Analytical skills enable us to consider all the key elements in any given situation, and to determine how those elements relate to one another. A strongly skilled problem solver uses these skills to determine the issues that must be addressed and to understand the complexities of the problem.

Skills | Clarifying Meaning and Spotting Nonsense: Interpretation is a core critical thinking skill.  We use it in 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. This module presents several tried-and-true critical thinking strategies for dealing effectively with problematic vagueness and problematic ambiguity. Learn how to spot deceptive messages that twist what words mean to control people.

Skills | Analyzing Spoken Arguments: Making decisions in real time conversational contexts involves suggestion and evaluating options, offering reasons pro and con, and explaining why one choice appears to be superior to others. “Spoken arguments” as used here refers to those formal and informal conversations aimed at analyzing or evaluating a situation and determining what choice, if any, is to be made. Use this module to develop and to integrate your skills of analysis, inference, evaluation, and explanation as applied to the problem-solving and decision-making that occurs in conversational contexts.

Skills | “This-Is-Like-That” Reasoning: The memories and emotions triggered by an apt comparison or by a clever analogy can be extraordinarily persuasive. A strong critical thinker knows how analogies and other comparative reasoning strategies can be used to explain, to influence, and to evaluate when making or justifying decisions.  Develop critical thinking skills of explanation and evaluation as applied to these powerfully effective, but often misguided, reasoning shortcuts.  Comparative “this-is-like-that” reasoning is one of the three main modalities of human inference and explanation. The other two are “top-down” and “bottom-up” reasoning.  Each of the three has its best uses and its serious limitations.

Skills | “Top-Down” Reasoning”: Top-Down reasoning begins with high level principles, policies, and/or commitments. Once a business, a community, or an individual person is committed to a clear set of broad generalizations or core beliefs, the next logical step is to ask what those commitments imply for how we should act. Develop critical thinking skills of explanation and evaluation as applied in the deductive reasoning process.  Deductive “top-down” principles-first reasoning is one of the three main modalities of human inference and explanation. The other two are “this-is-like that” and “bottom-up” reasoning.  Each of the three has its best uses and its serious limitations.

Skills | “Bottom-Up” Reasoning”: Bottom-Up reasoning begins with a set of specific facts and, from those, reason upward, with a measure of warranted confidence, toward broader generalizations. Our professional and personal experiences shape our expectations because of our natural tendency to use this inductive form of reasoning. Develop critical thinking skills of explanation and evaluation as applied in the inductive reasoning process.  Inductive “bottom-up” empirical reasoning is one of the three main modalities of human inference and explanation. The other two are “this-is-like that” and “top-down” reasoning.  Each of the three has its best uses and its serious limitations.

 Skills | Comparing “This-is-Like-That,” “Top-Down,” and “Bottom-Up” Reasoning:This brief overview commentary focuses on the three main ways we have of offering explanations: “This-is-Like-That,” “Top-Down,” and “Bottom-Up” reasoning. These three are not at all equal when it comes to everyday problem-solving and decision-making. Each is valuable in a different way, but each has limitations, some more serious than others.  In a personal message to you, the lead author of these training modules describes practical value and the associated dangers of each of the three. 

Skills | Evaluating Alternatives: At every level of an organization, members are called upon to set priorities and to differentiate the quality of alternative possible choices that fall within their responsibilities.  The key to successful problem-solving by individuals and teams goes beyond evaluation only, we must be able to explain the reasons behind our evaluations by giving a fair-minded account of the reasons and evidence that support a given choice. This module focuses these evaluation and explanation skills as related to life and workplace problems and responsibilities.

Skills | Reasoning in Logically Precise Contexts: Develop the deductive reasoning skills necessary to anticipate outcomes and to see logical consequences. Effective people must be able infer with certainty the correct applications and the exact logical implications of a given set of conditions, rules, directives, principles, policies, or regulations which shape and constrain their problem-solving. Making logically precise deductive inferences and evaluating arguments for validity are core critical thinking skills.  

Skills | Reasoning in Ambiguous Contexts: Develop the inductive reasoning skills needed for problem-solving in contexts of risk, ambiguity and uncertainty. Strength in inductive and inferential reasoning lead problem solvers to determine the solution that has the strongest likelihood of success, given the information at hand. Although it does not yield certainty, inductive reasoning can provide decision makers with a solid basis for confidence in their conclusions and a reasonable basis for action.

Skills | Reasoning in Quantitative Contexts: The ability to reason well in contexts involving numerical data is essential in every field. Problem solvers must be able to interpret and evaluate vital information presented in a variety of numerical formats. This module develops your skills at making judgments based on quantitative information by focusing on how quantitative information is gathered, manipulated, and represented textually, verbally, and visually in graphs, charts, tables, and diagrams. Numeracy, quantitative reasoning, uses all our critical thinking skills.

Skills | Evaluating Credibility: Develop your critical thinking evaluation skills as applied to assessing the credibility of claims. The four strategies presented include assessing the credibility of the source of the claim, estimating the plausibility of the claim itself, investigating the claim independently, and suspending judgement. Topics include trust as related to the stages of human cognitive development, and how to recognize misleading claims such as fake news, false advertising, political propaganda, slanted language, and loaded expressions.  

Mindset | Fostering a Positive Critical Thinking Mindset: A positive critical thinking mindset gives us that powerful, consistent, internal motivation to apply our critical thinking skills to problem-solving and decision-making. This module offers specific suggestions for cultivating a positive critical thinking mindset. It contrasts truth-seeking, open-mindedness, foresight, systematicity, confidence in reasoning, inquisitiveness, and maturity of judgment with their opposites. Using vivid examples from popular culture, the module notes the ambiguity of the adjective “good” as applied to “critical thinker”, distinguishing the intent to praise the person’s reasoning skill from a judgement about the ethics of what they do.

Mindset | Foresightful, Driven, and Organized: This module addresses the significance of foresight, drive, and organization, along with ways we can strengthen these important thinking mindset attributes. Foresight, also called analyticity, is the habit of anticipating potential difficulties and striving to foresee consequences of decisions. Drive is the consuming internal demand to achieve personal and professional excellence and to achieve a group’s shared vision. And organization, often called systematicity or focus, is the persistence to work through problems in an organized, systematic, and orderly way.

Mindset | Truth-Seeking, Judicious, and Trustful of Reason: This module addresses the significance of truth-seeking, judiciousness, and trust in reasoning, along with ways we can strengthen these important thinking mindset attributes.  Truth-seeking is always desiring the best possible understanding of any given situation. A truth-seeing person has the intellectual integrity to follow reasons and evidence wherever they may lead. The judicious person has maturity of judgment characterized by displaying thoughtfulness in decision-making and an awareness that there is often more than one reasonable option, and that poor decisions should be dispassionately revisited.    Trust or confidence in reasoning is the habitual tendency to rely upon and to trust reflective thinking to solve problems and to make decisions.

Mindset | Adaptable, Resourceful, and Inventive: This module addresses the significance of adaptability, resourcefulness, and inventiveness, along with ways we can strengthen these important thinking mindset attributes. An adaptable person has an appetite for innovation and system changes. The person is resilient, flexible, and welcoming toward the need for change in life and work.  The resourceful person has the drive to find the means necessary to fulfill responsibilities. Inventiveness is the creativity and self-reliance to respond to emergent events. Adaptability, resourcefulness, inventiveness, resilience, and self-reliance are closely linked personal and professional attributes.

Mindset | Motivational, Open-Minded, and Professional: This module addresses the significance of being motivational, open-minded, and professional, along with ways we can strengthen these important thinking mindset attributes. The motivational leader effectively communicates enthusiasm for the work at hand and inspires others to give their best. The open-minded person respects diversity in work and life. This includes showing due respect for different perspectives, opinions, and suggestions. Professionalism means taking an appropriate approach to social interactions in work environments by maintaining focus on work responsibilities

Mindset | Committed, Dependable, and Honorable: This module addresses the significance of commitment, dependability, and honor, along with ways we can strengthen these important thinking mindset attributes. For example, the committed employee is orientated toward the company and the job, its people and its mission. Dependability is the motivation to complete assigned tasks and take pride in the accomplishment of assignments. Loyalty and dedication characterize a person who is committed and dependable. Honorable people are honest, they have personal integrity, they are truthful, respect other people’s property, follow rules, and keep promises.

The reports generated for the Critical Thinking Course Pack include an individual test-taker report for each student assessed and group summary reports for each group and sub-group in the sample. Also included are aggregated data on the usage of the training modules by the client’s participants. Consult the accompanying user manual for information about interpreting the reports and ideas about optimal use of the assessment results in the training course.

Assessment reports are generated immediately after the conclusion of testing, 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 free consultation.  Usage data reports are generated by Insight Assessment at the client’s request and emailed to the client.

Group Assessment Report 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 questions added by the client to the assessment profile.
  • 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.

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

  • Each Critical Thinking Keys mindset attribute is scored on 60-point scale divided into qualitative categories: Strong Negative, Negative, Inconsistent, Positive, Strong Positive. 
  • Each Critical Thinking Strategies reasoning skills metric is scored on a 100-point scale with five corresponding qualitative ratings (Not Manifested, Weak, Moderate, Strong, and Superior).
  • The Individual Reports can be 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 to help in understanding scores – it can be distributed by the client to the people who were assessed.


Need to expedite your project?  Contact us today or get started by calling 650-697-5628 and speaking with one of our assessment specialists now.

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