Military and Defense Critical Thinking Inventory

Insight Assessment Military and Defense Critical Thinking Inventory (MDCTI)
Military and Defense Critical Thinking Inventory

The Military and Defense Critical Thinking Inventory (MDCTI) is a higher education assessment which measures the thinking mindset, reasoning skills, and interaction styles of military personnel. The MDCTI is the instrument of choice for evaluating military leaders from senior enlisted through officer ranks and candidates being trained or recruited for those positions. An academic assessment tool, the MDCTI is used by military training programs, colleges, recruiters, and consultants for applicant and candidate screening and for individual talent development and team-focused professional development purposes.

Population: Military and Defense Critical Thinking Inventory (MDCTI) is calibrated for military leaders from senior enlisted through officer ranks and people being recruited or trained for those leadership positions.

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

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

Specs: Max 90 minutes timed administration.

    • 30 minutes allotted for 90 Likert-style Agree-Disagree items – professional mindset attribute belief, value, and expectation statements.
    • 60 minutes allotted for 35 engaging, military-setting 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 assessed. Optional individual score reports of all metrics for each person assessed. Optional MDCTI debriefing document.

Results Reported (Actionable Metrics):
1. Seven Mindset Attributes

  • Communicative Confidence – Self-confidence in oral and written communication
  • Professional Confidence — Self-assurance in handling role expectations
  • Intellectual Integrity – Courage and drive to seek truth and reach best judgment possible
  • Mental Focus – Diligence, task-orientation; taking an organized approach to problems
  • Mental Rigor – Willingness to analyze problems and situations deeply
  • Foresight – Consistent effort to anticipate consequences
  • Cognitive Maturity – Expectation of making timely, well-considered judgments

2. Three Interaction Style Characteristics

  • Expression – Ranging from “Expressive Performer” to “Quiet Observer” 
  • Teamwork – Ranging from “Consistent Collaborator” to “Lone Competitor”
  • Directness – Ranging from “Approval Seeker” to “Forthright Declarer”

3. Essential Critical Thinking Skills, and an OVERALL rating:

  • Analysis – Accurate identification of the problem and decision-critical elements
  • Inference – Drawing warranted and logical conclusions from reasons and evidence 
  • Evaluation – Assessing credibility of claims and the strength of arguments
  • Induction – Reasoned judgment in ambiguous, risky, and uncertain contexts
  • Deduction – Reasoned judgment in precisely defined, logically rigorous contexts

OVERALL Critical Thinking Skills – Sustained use of critical thinking to form reasoned judgments


    • Each mindset attribute is scored on a scale of 50 to 100 points, divided into three qualitative categories: Not Manifested, Inconsistently Manifested, or Strongly Manifested.
    • The interaction style characteristic metrics are scored on a numeric range of 50 to 100. Scores at the extremes indicate consistent manifestation of that end of the style characteristic spectrum. Mid-range scores indicate situational awareness and manifestation of both aspects of that interaction characteristic.
    • Each critical thinking skill metric is scored on a 100-point scale with corresponding qualitative ratings (Not Manifested, 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.

Currently Available Language: English

Licenses to Administer: Sold globally exclusively by Insight Assessment to military training programs, government agencies, academic institutions, recruiters, and consultants; competitive grant-funded project directors; qualified researchers and doctoral dissertation scholars; and other for-profit and not-for-profit military, defense, and government-related 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 Mindset Attributes

  1. Communicative Confidence: Confidence in oral and written communication and assesses attitudes about technical writing. Professionals who strongly manifest communicative confidence believe that they can lead groups through the presentation of oral arguments, to read well, and to write effectively about analyses and opinions.
  2. Professional Confidence: the self-assurance felt by newly assigned, enrolled, hired, or newly promoted individuals regarding their readiness to handle the stress, competitiveness, vocabulary, workload, instructional or orientation methods, and related complexities associated with their new role. Individuals who strongly manifest professional confidence have a positive sense of efficacy in their professional role.
  3. 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.
  4. Mental Focus: Mental focus is the discipline or habit of being diligent, systematic, task-oriented, organized, and clear-headed. A positive score indicates a person who endeavors to stay on task and approach problems and learning in systematic, focused, organized, and timely way. Mental focus is valuable because it directs attention to the duties and responsibilities of the task at hand.
  5. Mental Rigor: Mental rigor is the discipline to work hard to analyze, interpret and achieve a deep understanding of complex material. Individuals who strongly manifest mental rigor are willing to engage difficult material and to work hard to analyze complicated situations and problems. They display a desire for learning, and a concern to achieve a deep understanding of events and their causes.
  6. 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.
  7. Cognitive Maturity: Cognitive maturity indicates an awareness that there may be multiple potential perspectives on any given situation, problem, proposal, or issue. A person who strongly manifests cognitive maturity endeavors to take this into consideration when making important decisions. This person is likely to move forward when an expeditious decision is required, to hold off deciding if there is time to give the matter fuller consideration, or to reconsider decisions if new evidence emerges. 

Three Interaction Style Characteristics

  1. Expression: Expression describes a style of interacting with peers that may be quietly observational, expressively performing, or a mix of both depending on context. Expression scores fall into three categories: The “Quiet Observer” prefers to stay in the background and observe others even in social situations with peers. The “Expressive Performer” tends to be highly demonstrative and expressive, particularly when with their peers. The “Situational Observer or Performer” may present as a quiet observer or as an expressive performer depending on the context. They are comfortable letting others do the talking or, if the occasion demands, being the one who presents information, explanations, and analyses.
  2. Teamwork: Teamwork describes a style of interacting that may be collaborative, competitive or a mix of both depending on what is called for in each situation. Teamwork scores fall into three categories: The “Consistent Collaborator” style may be well suited for professional responsibilities requiring diplomacy and compromise, such as interest-based negotiation and arbitration. The “Lone Competitor” style may be well suited to highly competitive practice settings including potentially confrontational responsibilities. The “Situational Competitor or Collaborator” is comfortable with collaborative effort and with individual competition as well. This style is most effective when working within a collaborative group charged with competing effectively against other groups.
  3. Directness: Directness describes a style of behaving and speaking in relationship to questions or pressure from peers or superiors aimed at seeking their approval, or forthrightly declaring one’s views, or a mix of both depending on the situation. Directness scores fall into three categories: The “Approval Seeker” tends to present to peers, supervisors and others as being highly agreeable, even if he or she must exaggerate positive characteristics and conceal weaknesses to do so. A “Forthright Declarer” prefers to describe matters exactly as he or she sees them, to speak bluntly, occasionally to the point of painful honesty, and to make decisions with little concern for whether others would approve or agree. “Situationally Direct” individuals may exhibit forthrightness or may withhold their true opinions depending on the situation.

Essential Critical Thinking Skills

  1. OVERALL Reasoning Skills: The 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 reasoning skills 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.
  2. Inductive Reasoning: 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.
  3. Deductive Reasoning: 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Evaluation: 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.

The Military and Defense Critical Thinking Inventory 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, 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.

Group Analytics include:Images from Insight Assessment Group Reports

  • Excel spreadsheet files of all scores on all metrics. At the option of the client, these also include the responses to custom demographic questions added by the client to the assessment profile.
  • Presentation-ready tables and graphic representations of the score distribution for all metrics.
  • Customers who have added group custom demographic questions can generate sub-group level reports for these variables, or for specific testing sessions or time periods. 

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

  • Each mindset attribute is scored on a scale of 50 to 100 points, divided into three qualitative categories: Not Manifested, Inconsistently Manifested, or Strongly Manifested. 
  • The interaction style characteristic metrics are scored in a numeric range of 50 to 100. Scores at the extremes indicate consistent manifestation of that end of the style characteristic spectrum. Mid-range scores indicate situational awareness and manifestation of both aspects of that interaction characteristic.
  • Each reasoning skill metric is scored on a 100-point scale with corresponding qualitative ratings (Not Manifested, Moderate, Strong, and Superior).
  • The Individual Reports can be pushed as PDF files to an email address of the client’s choosing (for example, to an admissions office, a training officer, program director, recruiter, etc.)
  • The client controls whether individual reports are made available to the test-taker.  

Discover a wide range of professional development short courses, and interactive activities designed to enhance the very metrics measured by this product at Insight Basecamp.

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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