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effective training

To engage students and trainees in successful critical thinking skills development, and to reinforce a positive critical thinking mindset, there are a few basics to keep in mind:

  • Use silence to allow everyone time to think through the question before the conversation begins.
  • Pose thoughtful or insightful questions and intentionally allow 10–15 seconds of silence to elapse before calling on students to respond. Cognitive science research has shown that a pause of this length is necessary for the human brain to sufficiently process a question and formulate a reasonable response. Even 15 seconds of silence can seem a long time in a class session, but setting this expectation assures that one eager student will not end the thinking process for the entire group before all have had some time to practice their critical thinking skills.
  • Work from example to theory. Discuss the examples in the text first, and then draw out the concepts they teach. This technique practices students’ inductive reasoning skills and promotes active engagement and inquisitiveness.
  • Make the language of thinking a familiar vocabulary. Use critical thinking vocabulary when posing questions to students to reinforce conceptual understanding and promote recognition of reasoning. Use the names of the skills and the habits of mind that are found in the textbook. For example, use phrases such as: “What is your reason for that claim?” “Let’s interpret this statement,” “What inferences can we reasonably draw from these facts?” and “Let’s be systematic in our analysis.”
  • Engage students in dynamic learning activities that promote independent thinking or exposure to the thinking of others. Suggested activities include maintaining a reflective journal; conversing with a partner, small groups, or the whole class; investigations, inquiries, and informed conversations; debates; simulations; role playing; fishbowl activities; panel discussions; brainstorming exercises; case studies; course blogs or wikis; individual or group argument mapping; social networking features such as asynchronous bulletin boards that are often found in course management systems; maintaining a paper or electronic Portfolio, and so on.
  • Require students to provide reasons or explanations for all of their claims, interpretations, analyses, evaluations, and decisions. Ask why and expect a good, well-reasoned answer. Don’t let students get by with shut-down clichés such as, “That’s just how I feel,” “I was brought up to think that…,” “My parents always said that…,” and “It’s common sense.”
  • Model strong critical thinking for your students. Your students watch you to see if you believe in the value of critical thinking, so what you say and what you do might be more powerful in motivating them to build their critical thinking skills than anything they read or hear in a lecture. If you show that you practice the positive critical thinking habits of mind and that you engage in problems and decisions by applying critical thinking skills, that message comes through to them. If you do not, you reflect a negative message.

Many thanks to Dr. Carol Gittens for this list of suggestions that are useful techniques an instructor can use to promote strong critical thinking. These appear in the teaching manual accompanying her book THINK Critically by Pearson Education. This is an excerpt from those materials.

If you are interested in additional strategies for teaching and training reasoning skills, check out the Resources on  the Insight Assessment website.

Explore our website for practical training resources and our blog, Thinking INSIGHT , for further discussion of the measurement of thinking skills and mindset.

Insight Assessment offers a comprehensive array of objective, validated education and business thinking assessment tools that report individual and group diagnostics of overall strengths and weakness .  Comprehensive personal reports provide are powerful tools that insights to individual trainees or students, highlighting reasoning strengths and identifying areas for improvement.  Flexible administration options make assessment available 24/7 throughout the world. 

Contact us today to discuss your reasoning skills and thinking mindset training and assessment goals.

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Critical thinking for Student Success

“Students must navigate a wide range of issues to achieve success.”

Research about college students often focuses on how the experience of attending college impacts and shapes their lives. Development as human beings continues throughout our lives. However, the decade or so from late adolescence through young adulthood is particularly important, because during these years students are:

  • developing the competencies they will need to make a living in a complex society;
  • learning to manage their emotions;
  • moving through autonomy toward interdependence;
  • developing mature interpersonal relationships;
  • establishing their personal identity;
  • developing and refining their sense of purpose;
  • developing a greater integration of who they are with what they say and do in all circumstances.

Strong reasoning skills and a thinking mindset are needed to successfully navigate these many worthy endeavors.***  

Critical thinking skills are important factors for success of college students in their academic, professional and personal lives.

Why assess student critical thinking 

A thinking mindset and strong critical thinking skills is integral to student success. This is true for traditional and non-traditional groups of applicants and enrollees.  A level admission playing field is now necessary,  not only for first-time-in-college freshmen, but also for gap year applicants, transfers, returning adult learners, part-time students, single parents, veterans, home schooled students, and others. 

Assessing critical thinking provides the objective information needed to determine how well students are doing.  

Student mindset toward learning depends on strengths in how inquisitive, truth-seeking, organized, foresightful, and how confident in reasoning they are. Core critical thinking skills are based on how well they can analyze problems, make well-founded interpretations, draw reasoned inferences in quantitative and non-quantitative contexts, explain, and evaluate points of view. 

Educators recognize that building these critical thinking skills and habits early is key to student success, so assessing critical thinking student learning outcomes is being prioritized.  Objective assessment is the first step to find out which new students are weak in critical thinking skills or lack the mindset needed to get the most out of their college opportunity. The data gathered can focus student retention efforts, as well as inform selective admissions or outcomes assessment.

More about the importance of critical thinking in student success

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Critical thinking data to support student success

For more than 30 years, Insight Assessment has provided cost effective valid and reliable critical thinking test instruments.  We offer specialized instruments calibrated to measure the reasoning strengths and weaknesses of individuals and/or groups at the community college, college and university levels.

These tools are widely used for educational purposes such as student learning outcomes assessment; program evaluation; accreditation; admissions; advising; identifying students' educational needs and strengths; and predicting the students' future success in achieving professional licensure. Our assessments are being used in over 30 languages at higher education institutions across the world.

We are a leader in reasoning assessment worldwide.  Our full service solution includes:

  • presentation-ready group statistics and graphics;
  • national, regional and professional school benchmarked comparison percentiles for graduate and undergraduate students;
  • scores spreadsheets;
  • optional individual student reports;
  • multiple language testing options;
  • client customizable demographic question options;
  • same-day score reporting with 24/7 online, mobile or desktop testing;
  • plus educational discounts and much more.

Call us today. Our assessment specialists are ready to help you use critical thinking data to support student success.

***   Adapted with permission from “Solve Problems and Succeed in College” (THINK Critically, Pearson Education), 2016 ,  a Freshman Seminar text, authors Facione and Gittens

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Are you a good thinker?

Thinking skills are essential life skills. Now you can measure your thinking skills and mindset using the Critical Thinking Insight app , downloadable from your app store. These authentic reasoning skills tests and mindset evaluation tools are based on the employment and educational tests Insight Assessment provides to businesses, health care agencies, colleges and high schools around the world. This is the first time these kinds of quality instruments are available for your personal use.

Are you looking for a good self-test of your thinking skills? Find out if you the skills and mindset to make good decisions.

Get started today with the free sample reasoning skills questions and free sample reasoning mindset items. Then measure your thinking with the in-app purchasable personal assessment options including more detailed and challenging thinking skills tests and mindset measures including My Thinking Skills – Adult Level , My Thinking Mindset – Adult Level , My Leadership Potential – Adult Level , My Learning Mind – Ages 11-17 and My Learning Mind – Ages 5-10 .  Purchases of personal assessments include a numerical score, a qualitative rating and an analysis of your scores on key elements of good thinking. Specific suggestions for improvement help you interpret your scores and grow even stronger in each area covered by the personal assessment.

Three employees think about information on a computer monitor

What are employers looking for when hiring?  They want candidates who have the ability to apply gained knowledge in a wide variety of real world settings.  Critical thinking skills like the ability to analyze and solve complex problems, to evaluate information from multiple sources, to work with numbers and to work effective with people of different views are cited as essential for career success.  In the recent Hart Research Associates survey, Falling Short? College Learning and Career Success, 400 employers wanted candidates to have more than field specific knowledge; they seek new hires who can demonstrate proficiency in skills like critical thinking and the ability to apply a broad range of knowledge.

This won’t surprise many businesses. Hiring managers see the impact of new employees with strong thinking skills and motivated mindset. Candidates who can demonstrate strength in analytical thinking and problem solving skills are consistently more productive. It’s equally important that new hires have the consistent internal motivation to engage problems and find solutions.

That’s why our clients rely on Insight Assessment metrics and data to take the guesswork out of personnel assessment and to identify candidates or trainees with the thinking skills and mindset to reach company goals.  INSIGHT Business Professional delivers objective metrics for the reasoning skills and mindset attributes required for high stakes decision making.  The core thinking competencies measured by these instruments have been validated as vital to business and civic life by key leaders in the USA:

  • INSIGHT measures the essential analytic reasoning skills businesses need: problem identification and analysis, evaluating alternatives, anticipating consequences, interpreting information in quantitative contexts and identifying optimal solutions.
  • INSIGHT also reports on 10 mindset measures of willingness and motivation to apply knowledge, experience and skills to increase results as well as focus, adaptability, honesty and tolerance for different viewpoints.   

Comprehensive individual reports provide reliable data about the specific strengths and weaknesses of 15 essential reasoning skills of test takers.  Easy to use online assessments are available 24/7.

If this is the type of data you need to prescreen candidates for hiring and promotion, contact us.

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Effective employees make good decisions

Employees are effective because they have strong decision-making skills. They focus on identifying and solving problems. They look for opportunities to grow the company and themselves.

Effective employees have cognitive skills such as problem analysis, problem solving, evaluating options, establishing priorities, anticipating outcomes and quantitative reasoning.  They demonstrate commitment, focus, resourcefulness, tolerance and integrity.

Objective, reliable metrics on strength and weakness in these core critical thinking skills and mindset are invaluable in making your business successful.

Hiring is hard work in today's market

Candidate resumes, experience and skills used in prior jobs must be examined to determine potential and risks.  Then you must extrapolate whether individuals have the skills and work ethic to become effective in the new position.  

Pre-employment assessment data takes the subjective out of these decisions. Knowledge about strength in analytical thinking and decision-making facilitates hiring. It also assists with finding employees ready to hit the ground running.

Data for talent development

Developing effective employees is based on skills development. Employees need to continually have opportunities to develop required skills—and new ones. They value opportunities to improve themselves personally and professionally.  Effective decision-making skills and mindset are not innate; they can be improved and developed. 

The same assessment metrics used in pre-employment screening can be used to optimize the targeting of individual and group skills building.

Successful onboarding: Talent development starts immediately when onboarding new employees.  Once new hires are in the door, you need them ready to work, making good decisions and producing results. It is easier to engage new hires who have demonstrated strong learning motivation and skills. They will quickly learn on the job.

Identify areas for improvement: The highest ROI is on training and development initiatives that target strength-building in identified areas of individual and/or group improvement. Comprehensive analyses of strength and weakness in crucial cognitive skills and mindset attributes identify areas for improvement.

Individual and group reports have many uses. These include guiding employee hiring and development initiatives over time; comparing performance of groups engaged in similar task; documenting the success of quality improvement initiatives or establishing threshold skill levels to qualify candidates for interviews.

Increase efficiency:  Assessing decision-making skills can be done at hiring or prior to development programs for current employees.  Individual reports are powerful input for performance evaluations focusing on identifying additional training needs.  Team reports can be used to identify skills gaps or to target areas for improvement in group training.

Talent identification: Individual report data can be used to identify high potential employees who would benefit from specialized leadership training.

Hand holding a phone with the image of a histogram showing critical thinking group scores labelled "How Strong Are My People"

Assessment data for hiring and training

There is no substitute for high quality objective and validated data. Building a team of effective employees depends on having relevant data on individual and group strength in thinking and problem solving.

Do you need data for candidate evaluation, employee development, continuous improvement projects or for program evaluation?  Insight Assessment is here to make sure you have the metrics you need about thinking skills and mindset.

Each INSIGHT assessment has been calibrated to objectively measure the way that staff members apply reasoning skills to job-related situations. Our reports deliver data and comprehensive analysis in an easy to use format:

  • Numerical and Qualitative Results Reported on Each Metric.  Numerical scores and recommended performance assessments reflect the extent that those being assessed are manifesting a given skill or attribute. The recommended performance assessments (qualitative scores) are always relative to the career  level of the INSIGHT assessment instrument: INSIGHT Executive, INSIGHT Professional, INSIGHT Staff, or INSIGHT Support.
  • Printable individual reports document specific strengths and areas for growth for each of 15 key skills and mindset metrics.  In addition to qualitative and numeric results, individual reports provide reliable analysis for each component of decision-making and how it impacts job success.
  • Optional group reports display aggregated statistics and bar-charts on each metric using high quality graphics, suitable for inclusion in management reports. The spreadsheets included with group reports provide the specific scores and responses by all individuals assessed. Group level reports effectively communicate assessment results for particular aggregations of individuals, e.g. all applicants for a particular position.
  • Our expert staff will assist in setting up your projects and delivering reports for all subgroups in your organization.  When groups of candidates or employees are examined, it is possible to make judgments about the strength of the group as a whole as well as to compare individuals. 
  • INSIGHT assessments are available whenever needed 24/7. Insight Assessment test instruments are delivered worldwide using our secure, encrypted, online multilingual interface. Our app-based test online system provides the option of taking our thinking and reasoning assessments on most mobile devices in addition to PCs. Individual results reports are sent directly to your specified email address each time an assessment is completed.
  • INSIGHT Development Program provides online self-paced training modules focusing on 15 core thinking skills and attributes. The program features reflective mental exercises, access to an assessment metric and performance reporting tools. INSIGHT Development program is a powerful cost-effective tool to use if your company wants to proactively implement a thinking skills improvement initiative.

Gain the benefits of employees with strong thinking, decision-making and problem-solving skillsCall us today to obtain the data you need to develop effective employees.

Data for Continuous Improvement

Actionable data for continuous improvement initiatives

What would you do if you had the data to prove your organization has the thinking skills needed to improve productivity and efficiency?

Would you increase production, risk expansion, grow your team, take on that extra project?

Then you need to assess the skills and personal characteristics of your team

  • Are there skills or personal characteristics you value and need to assess?
  • Are your employees motivated, professional, focused, honest and committed? 
  • Does your staff have the problem solving skills to follow through on policy changes?  
  • Do your managers have the problem analysis and quantitative reasoning skills required to evaluate alternatives?
  • Do your executives have the strong decision skills necessary to lead the company forward?

If you don’t have actionable metrics to answer these questions, Insight Business Professional provides objective measurements of 15 essential business skills and mindset characteristics

If the data shows values and cognitive skills your company needs, INSIGHT Development Program provides an online self-training a cost effective online training that can be integrated into your professional development and quality improvement programs.

When your employees are good thinkers, they make better decisions, fewer errors and they are more productive. That’s why businesses need to capture objective data on the thinking skills of job candidates and current employees.  They know that companies run more efficiently when they are staffed and lead by strong critical thinkers.

Insight Assessment provides validated test instruments to assess the thinking skills and motivation of employees at every stage of their career. Our easy to use objective thinking skills and mindset assessments are essential HR tools worldwide. We are committed to delivering comprehensive and meaningful data that can be easily disseminated and applied to assist our clients’ efforts to carry out specific continuous improvement plans. Spreadsheets of individual scores as well as analyzed group reports can be generated immediately upon data collection and later as needed. Our excellent support staff can assist you to design a data collection plan to accomplish your assessment goals. 

Thinking skills data strengthens continuous improvement initiatives

Identifying and building strong reasoning skills and a motivated thinking mindset must be an ongoing commitment. Impactful programs identify areas to improve employee effectiveness, focus on relevant skills, and provide demonstrable results.

Each INSIGHT tool can be used to gather comprehensive objective data for multiple initiatives. Our comprehensive results package delivers the informative metrics you need for:

An investment in the assessment and development of thinking skills is a cost effective way to promote quality improvements throughout your operations. 

It is essential that you have the best information available to guide the future of your institution. There is no substitute for an accurate assessment of the quality of new programs, the effectiveness of retention initiatives, and the demonstration of the attainment of performance-based outcomes.

INSIGHT Development Program delivers the most comprehensive, effective, and well-established training approach to strengthening employee decision-making and problem-solving available. INSIGHT Development Program integrates proven instructional modules that guide individuals toward the continued improvement of their reasoning using workplace examples, together with a valid assessment of thinking mindset attributes and reasoning skills.

Every day, in every industry, the quality and the sheer number of judgments that need to be made determines the effectiveness of individuals and teams. Now is the right time to initiate a testing program to identify strong thinkers. Contact us to get the data that works for you.

Learn more about how INSIGHT clients use our individual and group metrics to improve productivity  

INSIGHT: Improve Performance and Efficiency

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

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