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Critical Thinking for Business

We are often asked about the correlation between critical thinking skills and strong business reasoning skills. 

Many clients are preparing to make a commitment to growing their businesses by building strength in decision-making skills. Often they want to know if the thinking skills their employees need can be assessed.

The landmark 1990  APA Delphi Report identified the core cognitive skills and characteristics of critical thinkers.  

The relationship between critical thinking and business reasoning skills is clear: critical thinking is the term originating with this research for many of the skills and mindsets that businesses identify as problem solving or decision-making skills.  In consultation with experts and working professionals and from decades of research on thinking and reasoning in human decision making, Insight Assessment has identified core skills and mindsets that are necessary for high stakes decision making in the business world. 

Five Thinking Skills for High Stakes Decision-making

The relationship of these core business problem solving or decision making skills to key critical thinking skills is shown on the table below ( available in PDF form) .

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Thinking in Leading, Deciding, and Motivating

  • Identify  Critical Elements
    • Analyze the strategic environment, identify its elements and their relationships
    • Interpret events and other elements in the strategic environment for signs of risk, opportunity, weakness, advantage
  • Project Logical Consequences
    • Infer, given what is known with precision and accuracy within the strategic environment, the logical and most predictable consequences of various courses of action
  • Navigate Risk and Uncertainty
    • Infer, given the range of uncertainty and risk in the strategic environment, the full range of the possible and probable consequences of each possible course of action
  • Assess Decision Options
    • Evaluate anticipated results for positive and negative impacts
    • Evaluate risks, opportunities, options, consequences
    • Explain the rationale (evidence, methodology, criteria, theoretical assumptions, and context) for deciding on the integrated strategic objectives and for the planning and action parameters that compose the strategy
  • Double Check Everything:  At every step review one’s own thinking and make necessary corrections.

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INSIGHT assessments are proven tools for measuring strengths and weakness in the essential business thinking skills described above.

INSIGHT offers more options and better fit with your needs because it provides multiple levels calibrated for business , healthcare , science and engineering , first response , defense and  legal organizations. Assessments provide objective data for prescreening candidates, placement and talent development.

INSIGHT Development Program  is a proven self-paced online employee training program designed to build critical thinking in teams as well as in individuals.

INSIGHT Development Program can be integrated into your training programs or can be implemented as new initiative.  Modules focus on specific essential thinking skills and mindset attributes. Each purchase includes:

  1. series of modules targeted to strengthen an individual’s thinking characteristics
  2. the use of the corresponding Insight Assessment testing instrument and individual reports that can be used for individual professional development, continuous improvement initiatives, talent identification and other quality improvement programs.

Assessing thinking is the first step to improving the quality of decision-making in your organization. Be sure you are assessing the skills you need.

Contact us. We will show you how easy it is to incorporate thinking skills assessment into your hiring, training and employee development programs.

Grow with strong thinkers

Insight Assessment doesn’t just offer an algorithm processing an amalgam of data. We offer proven, validated research-based assessments that measure and report on the most essential competencies: the strong analytical skills and reasoning abilities that are the basis of all work skills and capabilities. Insight Assessment customers see huge benefits from the analysis of business thinking skills and mindset metrics delivered on our online assessment reports.

Building a team of strong thinkers depends on having relevant, ready to use information at your fingertips. INSIGHT business assessments deliver comprehensive and meaningful metrics that can be easily disseminated and applied to assist clients’ efforts to carry out their specific continuous improvement plans. Individual score reports provide high quality objective data that is valuable to Human Resource departments for meeting hiring, professional development and performance improvement objectives. Aggregated group data is also available.  

We offer far more than an algorithm—we provide tools to make better decisions.

  • Our proven assessments stand on 35 years of delivering validated data to drive performance.
  • Our assessments are not one size fits all—each is calibrated to measure targeted industries and performance levels.
  • Our assessments use real world business scenarios and issues that require test takers to apply their reasoning skills to analyze and identify the best solutions.
  • Our individual reports provide a comprehensive analysis of the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses in 10 key mindset attributes and 5 essential thinking skills. ( See a sample INSIGHT Business Professional report .)
  • Our reports deliver the information clients need in a readily usable format—we’re not going to try to upsell you on additional services—but we will also offer free resources about human reasoning, assessment and developing skills.
  • Our assessments will save you money in reduced turnover and improved quality.
  • Testing is available 24/7 worldwide via our flexible online assessment administration: all you have to do is tell us how many people you want to assess and we'll set it up.
  • Reports are delivered within minutes of completion of the assessment/data collection.

Insight Assessment is committed to making sure our clients receive the data they need for their high stakes objectives. We deliver better measurements, better insights and highly relevant employee analytics. Contact us to set up your assessment account so you can make sure you have strong decision makers on the job.

graphic. critical thinking skills & disposition

Many projects using Insight Assessment instruments to evaluate critical thinking skills and mindset attributes have been awarded funding by major governmental agencies which evaluate highly competitive research grants. In the United States these include the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense.  

Critical thinking, at its most basic level, is the process of reflective and fair-minded decision making concerning what to believe or what to do.  This is why researchers are focusing more and more attention on effective methods for developing a sustained willingness and ability to engage problems and concerns using critical thinking. 

Insight Assessment tools to measure critical thinking provide many advantages to researchers.  These objective measures have been developed to be culturally relevant in all language translations. Free of gender bias and tailored to educational level, they provide the researcher a  valid and reliable method for measuring individual differences and group characteristics for human reasoning skills and mindset attributes.  Insight Assessment tools are well-respected and well-known.  With the assurance of the highest standards of instrument development, all research can be addressed using optimal and superior design. Doctoral dissertations and externally funded research proposals in many nations have relied on them to determine the effectiveness of training programs for business, education and government agencies.

To learn more about Insight Assessment support of research

To learn more about the value of adding a measure of reasoning skills and mindset to a scientific investigation of human cognition

For issues researchers are studying:

For a sampling of critical thinking research findings, see our Resources collection

Insight Assessment has provided discount pricing for the past 30 years for research across the disciplines conducted by non-profit organizations when the aims of the research involves the science of human reasoning, the training of thinking skills and mindset, problem recognition and resolution, risk reduction, or the study of key decision makers.  Selecting a valid and reliable measure calibrated to your study population also offers you the opportunity to benchmark your study sample to the population in the area of reasoning skills, increasing the external validity of your findings. Call or email us today to discuss your own critical thinking research project. 

Logo for INSIGHT Executive assessment  used to measure decision making and critical thinking skills

It’s a tough job but someone has to do it. Someone has to ask the hard questions, create clarity out of complex information and ambiguous situations—and then make the high stakes decisions required. Someone has to be the leader, driving the company forward.

Vision and decision strength start at the top. Leaders need to be strategists who can evaluate options, anticipate consequences, set priorities and determine the critical factors affecting the outcome of decisions. Effective leaders have strong analytical skills and the ability to energize an entire organization. 

Whether you’re an executive search firm looking for the best candidates to present to your clients or a search team looking for the right person to lead your company’s growth, you need the best tool to identify leaders with the strategic skills to lead in a complex world.  The metrics reported on  INSIGHT Executive , part of our complete line of professional tests , have been rigorously calibrated to identify how high stakes decisions are made and to measure the mindsets that make a leader effective.

INSIGHT Executive is not an easy test; it is designed to challenge the decision skills of members of the corporate leadership team.  To score well, the test taker must excel in the sustained, focused and integrated application of core reasoning skills. Comprehensive individual reports document strengths and weaknesses in 15 core components of leadership decision making.

  • INSIGHT Executive Part I assesses 10 mental mindsets such as maturity in judgment, tolerance, integrity and ability to motivate.
  • INSIGHT Executive Part II assesses 5 cognitive decision skills , using complex business scenarios that require individuals to make judgments based on conflicting or incomplete data involving internal or external challenges.

Our reports identify decision-makers who have the strategic skills to foster innovation and drive growth.

Contact us today to arrange a preview.  You don’t have to wait to add the power of an online assessment to your executive recruitment and development programs. INSIGHT assessments are available anywhere in the world with results in minutes.

Group up students sitting at table studying together

Assessment of thinking skills is an essential component of documenting student learning.  Many colleges and universities prioritize critical thinking student learning outcomes because they recognize that building critical thinking skills and mindset is key to student success . High quality validated group data like that reported by Insight Assessment test instruments is widely used for admissions, accreditation, curriculum evaluation and to improve student retention and success.

Universities and students collectively gain from institutional assessment commitments, but what’s in it for individual students?  More specifically, what can motivate students to give their best on the critical thinking learning outcome assessment?

Many Insight Assessment clients offer printable individual reports to students after the testing is completed.  Most people will make a greater effort on an assessment if they believe the result has personal relevance and might be useful to them. Students are often motivated to take our critical thinking assessments seriously because they see the personal value of good performance on these metrics.

Insight Assessment comprehensive individual reports document specific strengths and weaknesses in critical thinking skills or attributes. Numeric scores, categorical rankings and national percentile comparisons are reported for key components of critical thinking skills.  Descriptions are provided defining each element being measured and why it is important.

Students receive a personalized report showing learning and career related critical thinking skills, an affirmation of the quality of their own thinking ability, and the opportunity to benchmark themselves as compared to national percentiles for undergraduate or graduate students.  The objective analysis reported is highly relevant to students as they prepare for their future careers.  Learning about their personal performance is often a motivating factor for future effort at self-improvement.

Regardless of degree program, strong critical thinking predicts college success, professional licensure, job hire, and government service rank.

Insight Assessment excels at providing research-based critical thinking assessments designed specifically for undergraduates and graduate professional students .  Our critical thinking test instruments deliver objective, validated high quality individual and group data. The decision to give students their own individual thinking reports will increase the value and benefits of your institutional assessment program. Contact us to gert started.

Tolerance

Every aspect of business deals with customers.  Whether your group’s customers are an internal team or the end customer, the attitudes of every employee affect sales success. There is no question in today’s economy that this level of quality is stressful. So every group needs to demonstrate tolerance and cooperation to enable sales and heighten customer satisfaction.

You need to be certain your staff, collectively and individually, is measurably tolerant in order to work through your customers’ problems. With today’s constraints it can be difficult to assess tolerance without crossing lines, but true employee assessment doesn’t have to be hard.  Results for  Tolerance and 14 other key thinking skills and attributes  are presented on Insight Assessment’s comprehensive reports.  For example:

  • Insight Assessment measures tolerance because effective employees demonstrate open-mindedness as well as respect for diversity, different perspectives, opinions and suggestions. Tolerance is valuable in all settings, but most important when functions require interaction with clients, customers, suppliers, colleagues or coworkers from broadly diverse demographic backgrounds.

You need objective actionable data delivered in a cost-effective way.  Take the stress out of employee assessment with INSIGHT effortless integration into your current human resource processes, easy online administration and results in your inbox within minutes. INSIGHT Business Professional individual reports provide metrics on the test-taker’s strengths and weaknesses in essential cognitive skills and mindset attributes required for high stakes decision making and problem solving.

Contact us to get validated data for your assessment needs from prescreening candidates to leadership development and program evaluation.

Have you exercized your critical thinking skills today?

“Exercising our critical thinking helps our minds become stronger, healthier, and more youthful. Our approach, proven successful by us and by others, is simple, practical, and focused. To strengthen critical thinking skills, we have to use them. To build positive critical thinking habits of mind, we have to see critical thinking as the optimal approach for solving real-world problems and making important decisions.

 “We all may have different beliefs, values, perspectives, and experiences influencing our problem solving and decision making. But we share the human capacity to be reflective, analytical, open-minded, and systematic about thinking through our problems and choices, so that we can make the best judgments possible about what to believe or what to do. That process of well-reasoned, reflective judgment is critical thinking.”

 “What more could we wish for one another than we all should seek to know the truth, walk in the light of well-trained reason, be courageous, have the intellectual integrity to stand strong, and that, no matter what our chronological age, that we should stay mentally forever young?”

                    Excerpted from the Preface to Think Critically , 2016, Facione & Gittens. Pearson Publishing

How can I improve my thinking abilities?

We all know people who are committed to rigorous regimens of exercise, diet and training programs. These individuals know their body will be stronger with exercise.   But how many of us know someone who takes a disciplined approach to improving their thinking skills and habits of mind? Yet like our muscles, our brain gets stronger with practice. Research shows that your brain grows stronger when you give it a workout by studying new information, learning new skills or reflecting on new experiences.

If you want to practice your skills or see the types of questions that might appear on a critical thinking test:

  • download the Insight Assessment app, Critical Thinking Insight . The comprehensive in app purchasable personal assessments deliver scores and individual analysis on key elements of your thinking. Specific suggestions for improvement help you interpret your scores and grow even stronger in each area covered by the personal assessment. These personal assessments are based on the employment and educational test instruments Insight Assessment provides to business, health care agencies, colleges & high schools around the world.
  • to gain an overview of critical thinking and how the skills and habits of mind go together in problem solving and decision making, we suggest the essay Critical Thinking: What It Is and Why It Counts”.   

Get your week off to a good start. Use your critical thinking skills; exercise them every day.

staff on phone

Do you need to attract and retain new customers to your business? Are you looking for ways to make your brand stand out? Are your staff an asset or liability?

Are your employees making sure the business provides quality customer service?  Do you hire people who are focused on meeting customer needs? If not, you can’t expect to define a brand positively or plan on attracting new customers.

Prescreening employees with INSIGHT Business Staff enables you to identify employees who have the thinking skills and mindset to:

  • anticipate customer needs--from refilling water glasses to guiding product selection
  • analyze key elements of unexpected customer issues, evaluate options and problem solve creatively
  • learn about and understand products, policies and responsibilities
  • focus on the customer rather than on themselves or co-workers
  • be motivated to accomplish tasks
  • have the positive work ethic  to be welcoming, helpful and engaged with customers
  • be honest, dependable and committed to delivering quality service  
  • be able to work with numbers

It is possible to objectively measure these skills and mindsets using validated INSIGHT Business Staff online assessments. Comprehensive individual reports provide scores on 15 core components of thinking well .  

Retail and service businesses require more than cheerful employees; your business grows when you hire people who can think well and have a strong motivated work ethic.  Join the increasing numbers of businesses that are using validated INSIGHT online assessments to gather reliable data to prescreen new employees. Staffing decisions are better when they are founded on the objective relevant data delivered by Insight Assessment.

Contact us. In one working day you can bring INSIGHT to every level of your organization.

Report graphic conparing 4 year undergraduate performance on the CCTST critical thinking assessment to comparable a sample of students nationwide

Insight Assessment tools provide the high quality, validated critical thinking metrics needed to support admissions, student retention and learning outcomes assessment.

If assessing critical thinking skills or mindset is on your “to do” list, Insight Assessment offers the full-service solution you need. We are the world’s leader in critical thinking assessment, providing the highest quality instrumentation , the data gathering systems, the scoring and statistical analyses, and the individual and group report generation necessary to help you do your job. 

Colleges and universities in every state of the nation and many countries around the world use Insight Assessment tools for:

Insight Assessment puts the controls in your hands:

To support your faculty and students we offer complimentary teaching and learning materials to all of our critical thinking assessment clients. You and your colleagues are welcome to review and download publications on critical thinking and assessment from our website. 

It's easy to receive a price quote: contact a customer service agent through our Contact Us Request below or call (650) 697-5628 to talk with a knowledgeable representative.

 

Critical Thinking Assessments for Documenting Higher Ed Learning Gains
Job candidates sitting in line for an interview

The decision is up to you; you need to hire or promote an employee. You’ve gone through all the vetting steps for this position: resumes sorted, interviews completed, background checks and references checked. Now you’ve narrowed it down to two candidates having similar experience:

  • Candidate A has a degree from an excellent university, made the Dean’s List, and has worked in the industry for four years at two jobs. Candidate A interviewed well and seemed enthusiastic.
  • Candidate B also has a degree from an excellent college, also made the Dean’s List, and has worked at a competitor for five years, getting a promotion after a year. Candidate B had good questions and interviewed well.

Which candidate do you pick? Why?
How confident are you about this decision?
     What if you’re wrong?

Wouldn’t it be great if you had objective metrics on their reasoning ability?
If you had both candidates take the INSIGHT Business Professional thinking skills assessment, you would receive individual reports describing the key judgment skills required at this level of responsibility and accountability.

  • At first glance you would see that Candidate A has a rating of Strong for Overall Reasoning Skills. Candidate B demonstrated Moderate Overall Reasoning Skills. You know that the Overall Reasoning Skills score reflects the big picture of how the candidate uses reasoning skills to analyze complex job-related situations to anticipate and solve problems to reach company goals. INSIGHT Business Professional provides objective metrics on five additional key elements of thinking strength  that you can use to compare candidates' skills.   

Now what do you think about your options? Are you ready to make a final decision?
How confident are you about this decision?
     Which candidate would fit best in the work culture and team you envision?
     Wouldn’t it be helpful to have even more objective data before you make your final choice?

Wouldn’t measurements of key professional mindset attributes be valuable?

INSIGHT Business Professional objectively assesses whether individuals are motivated to apply their knowledge experience and skills to meet company goals.

  • You would see that Candidate A has a scored well on components of work ethic such as job commitment, honesty, tolerance, resourcefulness and openness to change. Candidate B scored poorly on these important indicators of work success. The candidates were asked to react to typical on-the-job dilemmas; the Business Professional report shows individual results for ten  essential business mindset attributes . You know that the higher scores indicate someone who is more likely to desire to learn and to work and, most importantly, is motivated to apply their reasoning skills to job related decisions. These insights are invaluable.

Now which candidate do you choose?
And how confident are you NOW about your decision?

If you have to hire 10, 50 or 1,000 employees,  INSIGHT  will make your job easier—and lead to better hires—because you need validated objective data to interview, hire and promote the best thinkers  in the pool.

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

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