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BLOG Archive - 7 / 2015

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Student success depends on critical thinking skills & mindset - Insight Assessment

Insight Assessment academic clients depend on validated critical thinking test instruments for their outcomes assessment, accreditation, and quality enhancement projects.

  • Returning from a conference focusing on how deans can improve student success, Dean Jackson now saw student success not as an end result, but as a process that began at admission and could be highly predicted by a student’s first months on campus. It was time to re-focus the Freshman Experience program. One colleague dean had described adding the HSRT to the admission process to screen for critical thinking skills indicative of a readiness to complete a degree program in Physical Therapy. “Failure means an empty seat, and an empty seat means I’m producing one less clinician.” Students with borderline scores were still admitted, but referred for preemptive academic assistance in the learning center.
  • Dean Jackson liked the idea of an assessment that looked at reasoning skills, because these were needed inside and outside the classroom.  Jackson learned that the CCTST is the best fit for baccalaureate students in the Arts and Science, used by many schools for entry cohort advising and as a solution to the student retention problem. Although it was already July, Dean Jackson offered to fund CCTST assessment for any college program that chose to participate in a Year One pilot. As it turned out there were seven program directors eager to address faculty concerns about student readiness for their programs. Many of their students completed the CCTST in the Learning Center that Fall. Each student received a copy of their individual report to carry to their next advisor meeting.
  • After that, things just kept happening. The accreditation committee saw this program as an example of college support for student success and discussed this in their self-study report. The engineering program added the CCTST as an official admission requirement to their impacted program. Assessing critical thinking at entry became a signal to students that developing stronger reasoning and problem solving skills was an expected outcome of their educational experience in the college. That Spring, the Director of Assessment examined Freshmen students’ CCTST scores in relationship to units completed and core course grades and found low scores on the CCTST could be used as early warning sign that students were at risk.

Our assessment specialists hope this scenario demonstrates the power of the metrics provided by our thinking skills and mindset test instruments. Insight Assessment services include exceptionally versatile delivery options, peer benchmark norms, individual and group reports, complimentary learning resources, and more. Contact us to discuss ways the assessment of thinking can increase your student success and institutional effectiveness.

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