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BLOG Archive - 12 / 2015

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Many two year academic institutions choose to measure what really matters: good thinking. 

Community and technical colleges, certificate programs and other associate degree programs realize that student success is based on the strength of individual critical thinking skills and personal mindset attributes.  They depend on Insight Assessment tools to provide the highest quality, cost effective critical thinking metrics needed to support admissions, student retention and student success.

The measurement of the critical thinking skills and mindset of incoming students, individually and as a group, will provide vital data for tailoring student success services to the needs of specific students. Exit data on student critical thinking is valuable for other educational purposes such as program evaluation, accreditation or learning outcomes assessment.

In today’s world, nothing is more important than strength in problem analysis and strong decision-making skills. Critical thinking assessment is invaluable whether your project involves selective admissions to STEM and Heath Sciences programs, quality in admissions to business education, student retention initiatives, or the documenting of learning outcomes. Here are some two-year college success stories:

  • With an abundance of applicants for the Engineering Technology degree program, the program faculty found that the Test of Everyday Reasoning (TER)   and the Adult Level California Measure of Mental Motivation (CM3 III) identified their most qualified applicants. They used national percentile benchmarks to document the strength of their program graduates.
  • An urban college linked their SACS QEP initiative to a Statewide concern for improving the percentage of students who successfully complete their associate degree level career training.  The college’s QEP project using the TER and College Student Success (CSS) assessments to identify students at risk in their first semester, assisting their teaching and learning professionals to tailor the college’s support services.
  • Directors of the Nursing and the Physical Therapy Assistant programs selected the Health Sciences Reasoning Test – Associate Degree (HSRT-AD)  and the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory (CCTDI) to augment their admissions screening process. Strong scores on skills and mindset attributes long acknowledged as desired qualities and abilities in these clinical disciplines improved degree completion and licensure rates.
  •  A college transition director at another community college uses the College Student Success (CSS) instrument to guide students through a smooth transfer to their Bachelors completion program. The individual reports generated by the CSS give the advisor and the student a clear picture of the transfer student’s critical thinking skill set, motivation to learn, drive to succeed and much.

As the leader in reasoning assessment worldwide, our full service solution includes presentation-ready group statistics and graphics , scores spreadsheets, optional individual student reports, multiple language testing options, client customizable demographic question options, and same-day score reporting with 24/7 online, mobile or desktop testing , plus educational discounts and much more.  Visit our website for details about these services and to access our Resources bank of critical thinking teaching support materials.

Call us at 650-697-5628 or use our website’s “Contact us” link for a free quote for your project. Talk with an Insight Assessment representative about how other 2 year programs have added critical thinking assessment to their admissions and early cohort assessment procedures and how they document students’ strength in critical thinking as a criterion for receiving performance-based funding.

Follow our blog, Thinking INSIGHT , or RSS feed for more stories of assessment projects that help educators at all levels achieve their goals.              

Building under construction with text: How to BUILD an Employee Development Program

Maximize your investment in training

Billions of dollars are invested annually in employee development and training. This is seen in dismal retention rates, poor engagement, stagnant leadership development and meager customer service.

Investing in employee development takes planning, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Some key tactics:

1.  Start with goals for your learning and development strategy

Take the time to decide which employee strengths and weaknesses most impact your company potential. Your continuing professional development should, then, address how to improve these strengths and reduce those weaknesses.

Are bad decisions and missed opportunities the issue? Are there specific skills or motivational attributes that hold your company back? Is poor motivation derailing corporate growth?  Do team members have the mental discipline and mindset to drive new ideas from concept to completion?

Consider the benefits of increasing the quality of decision-making. The foundation for success is your employees knowing what actions to take.

Part of the skill set for decision-making includes being able to analyze data.  Due to the increasing use of technology, there is a skill gap for many employees.  Per a 2018 survey by edX, the online learning portal for Harvard and MIT, “39% of people reported feeling less than proficient in data skills with an emphasis on analytics and computer science.”  

Prioritizing the development of strong decision-making skills and motivation will deliver ongoing improving throughout an organization.

2. Align and integrate business goals and training

Once you’ve determined your goals, the next step is to identify the necessary skills, knowledge and competencies to deliver the desired results. 

If you’ve decided that good decision-making is critical to the success of your group/organization, then prioritize specific components of critical thinking.  This will enable enable you to carefully select a training program that focuses on those skills. To boost the analytic skills used in decision-making, for example, you should select a program that develops Quantitative Reasoning. 

To optimize achievement of your program goals, it is necessary to select the right L&D and assessment tools.  

Bonus Hint: Use an assessment to learn from your best.   Start by measuring the skills and mindsets of your high performers; discover exactly what makes them excel. Once you've determined the core reasoning characteristics, you can establish benchmarks for hiring and talent development. This information will help you define the reliable metrics needed to document achievement in improving the targeted skills.

More about how to choose a thinking assessment

3.  Prioritize relevant data for employee development

High integrity data is the foundation of employee development plans.  You will need objective, affordable metrics on how prospective employees will perform when faced with new problems in high stakes and time-limited situations.

Reliable data about the strengths and weaknesses in critical business reasoning skills and mindset attributes are valuable when applied to:  

4.  When training is completed, evaluate ROI

So did employees learn anything they will apply to doing their job better?

Build in an evaluation of the impact of your plans and initiatives. There’s no substitute for high quality objective and validated data.  You will need statistical evidence of the value added by your training and development program.

Funding always much easier when you have a demonstrated track record.  It’s important to measure changes in individual and/or group skills. Do employees demonstrate improvement? Comparing pre and post training data confirms training and program effectiveness. The difference between the pre and post test results will demonstrate the effectiveness of your curriculum.   

5.  Use it or lose it (time, money and motivation)! 

You must use the data to get value. An employee development program should help a business create an integrated approach to thinking improvement.  Both individual and group report data can be applied throughout your operations in areas such as prescreening, hiring, personal development, talent development.

6.  Be proactive.

Ultimately, employee development plans should assist in maximizing your most valuable resource--your employees, managers and leadership.  Be proactive, but make sure your actions are governed by data and metrics.

Logo for INSIGHT Developmebt Program, an online critical thinking training program

How to build a better employee development program?

It’s difficult to develop an effective internal program for improving thinking skills. Insight Assessment delivers the entire turn-key package: training and objective assessment tools.  

INSIGHT Development Program is a suite of thinking skills and mindset enrichment modules that focus on improving the quality of employee decision-making. Designed to be used as an independent study by employees, it can also be incorporated into existing training programs. INSIGHT Development Program is online, confidential, and available at staff member convenience.

INSIGHT Development Program features a unique integration of assessment and development. An analysis of skills and mindset attributes using our industry leading assessments is included for each trainee. Individual and group report provide comprehensive analysis of the strengths and weaknesses on 5 critical thinking skills and 10 essential mindset attributes that are characteristic of contributing members of a team. 

These INSIGHT tools have a proven record of reliability and meet statistical requirements of validity.  Assessments are administered via our secure, encrypted online interface available 24-7, easily administered at single or multiple sites, at test centers, to groups & to individuals.  Results will be delivered to you quickly and confidentially.

Contact us to preview this powerful tool that can support new employee on-boarding, department level enrichment programs, and company-wide training initiatives.


Good thinking is in demand. Download Critical Thinking Insight from your app store today:

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