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In “Distressed Reasoning” Dr. Peter Facione writes, “Higher education anywhere in the world cannot be considered successful unless it guides students to reason well in all contexts, even those that may be distressing.  Critical thinking is essential not only for educational success, but for success in the workplace and in our personal lives.  Critical thinking is also essential if democracy is to flourish. We all must learn to reason together, even about issues people find to be emotionally volatile, e.g. immigration, climate change, religious freedom, same sex marriage, domestic terrorism, K-12 education.  The best college level educational experiences are those that challenge us to bring fair-mindedness, reason, mutual respect and solid evidence to emotionally difficult topics. The best standardized critical thinking tests do the same.”

Read more about this important topic

staff on phone

Are you looking for practical problem solvers?

24/7 in every economic sector, employees are trying to solve problems—with a customer, a part, a change, an application and more.  Competent staff members are expected to be able to do what it takes to accomplish their tasks.  If the right person was selected for the job, many things play into the solution—an awareness of company policies and procedures, the correct identification of the core issue, knowledge of available options and the commitment to finding the best resolution.  If the staff member doesn’t have good problem solving skills, then too often the business suffers.

5 Business staff problem solving skills needed to achieve company goals:

  • Situation Comprehension: the ability to analyze and understand business situations, to keep details in proportion, and to focus on the elements of the work that matter.  Staff members with strong analytical and interpretive skills contribute to team productivity and efficiency.
  • Evaluating Choices:the ability to differentiate the quality of different possible choices and to explain the reasons behind that evaluation. Successful problem solvers offer sound opinions and provide good reasons for their thought process.
  • Anticipating Outcomes: the ability to anticipate logical consequences and outcomes of actions and decisions. Strong skills enable staff to contribute to team problem solving, to anticipate the needs of clients and customers and to offer suggestions which can help an organization deliver its products and services more effectively and efficiently.
  • Numeric Literacy:the ability to perform well when vital information is presented in charts, graphs, text or tables. Numeric literacy is essential in today's workplace, but particularly for those whose work involves sales, budgets, invoicing, payables, receivables, or responding to customer questions about any of these concerns.
  • OVERALL Workplace Problem Solving Skills: the integration of thinking and reasoning skills needed to address workplace situations requiring practical problem solving at the organization's staff levels.

INSIGHT Business Staff is calibrated to objectively assess these job related judgment skills needed for customer satisfaction and project success.

INSIGHT Business Staff presents everyday scenarios which require staff to understand business situations, keep details in proportion and focus on elements of the work that matter. Problems require anticipating the needs of clients, understanding numerical information and contributing to team problem solving. Reports provide objective metrics rigorously calibrated to document the ways effective staff members apply reasoning skills to job-related situations. Comprehensive individual strengths and weaknesses are analyzed for these 5 business problem solving skills and 10 business work ethic attributes .

Contact us discuss the uses and benefits of assessing staff thinking.
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.

ICOT presentation

The ICOT business sessions were energetic and exciting, clearly a highpoint for the conference.

The most interesting part of this year’s ICOT conference in Bilbao, Spain was the conversation in the business sessions about why some businesses have been slow to see the value of hiring individuals with strong reasoning and decision making skills and mindset. This seemed surprising to participants, because the value to their businesses was so obvious. Business leaders agreed that they need HR analytic tools that enable them to gather objective data about the attributes and skills that most matter today: reasoning and decision-making.   Pete Facione, a senior researcher at Insight Assessment, described these essential characteristics in a successful executive, and how they are rarely assessable using traditional interview tools (interviews, resumes, letters, past positions held). “These are unreliable indicators of reasoning skills and leadership attributes. Too many false positives and false negatives. But these essential skills and attributes can be measured before costly interviews or poor hires occur.”  Using data from INSIGHT Executive test results, he showed how candidates could fail to manifest many of the key attributes in spite of claims that they might make to the contrary.

ICOT roundtable

Smart hiring requires the analytics provided by the INSIGHT series of mindset and thinking skills measures .  Facione suggested that job candidates at all levels should be asked to test their reasoning and mindset prior to being offered interviews; those who walked away were likely to have little confidence in their own reasoning and not be candidates that the company would prize.  And, he added, during the interviews, the finalists should be challenged to demonstrate their skills and their interaction styles by applying them to genuine workplace problems that they analyze and discuss interactively. 

Image of a traffic light with the text 'Can your business afford to stand still?' Employees must be able to adapt to change

It’s as simple as this: employees who fear or resist change hold you back. Your business has to be able to adapt to changing conditions. So should your people.

Being Able to Embrace Transformation is Essential at all Levels

Engaged employees thrive on change; they are eager to learn and apply the new skills that will move your company forward. They can think on their feet, responding to dynamic situations. They thrive in a fast paced environment. They are able to adapt to rapidly evolving technology, capabilities and rising minimum expectations from customers. Flexibility is essential to problem solving throughout business processes.

1.  Effective leaders must be innovative

They are resilient agents of change responding to an evolving marketplace. They have an appetite for innovation and identifying opportunities for growth. They create enthusiasm for their vision for the future.

2.  Efficient line managers must be adaptable

They are resilient, eager for innovation and system changes.  They welcome workplace requirements for change . They seek opportunities to apply new or different skills to grow the company. 

3.  Dependable core staff members must exhibit workplace flexibility

They are able to welcome and adapt to changing workplace situations and processes; they can learn and implement new or different job-related skills needed for project success.  

4.  Support staff demonstrate flexibility in assigned responsibilities

They are willing to learn new job skills to apply to their work. They can adapt to changing processes to support company plans

A Growing Company is a Changing Company

Companies need to be agile to respond to external challenges and opportunities.  Controlling quality and costs, internally, requires an equal commitment to being nimble. It is not only possible but necessary to identify people who will respect procedures but also who can think creatively about improving processes. 

The Insight Business suite provides assessments that are calibrated to objectively measure the nuances of how the flexibility attribute is manifested as workplace responsibilities increase:

  • I NSIGHT Executive objectively measures the innovative mindset and 14 other key leadership decision skills and mindsets.
  • INSIGHT Business Professional provides an objective assessment of the adaptable mindset and 14 other key professional reasoning skills and mindsets.
  • INSIGHT Business Staff objectively assesses the workplace flexibility mindset and 14 other key problem solving skills and work ethic mindsets calibrated for their responsibilities.
  • INSIGHT Support objectively measures workplace flexibility and 14 other key job thinking skills and work ethic mindsets as applied to support jobs.

Contact us to learn how INSIGHT analytics can enhance your business performance.

ICOT BIlbao Conference Center

The ICOT 2015 International Conference on Thinking is underway in Bilbao, Spain. Business and education leaders from 43 countries have convened to discuss effective strategies for training reasoning skills and the mindset attributes conducive to problem solving and decision making.  It's a steamy, sluggish 34 degrees centigrade today in Bilbao, but in the conference center the atmosphere is energetic as experts exchange useful strategies for designing training programs for working professionals and best practices for classroom teaching of thinking.

ICOT Insight Assessment booth

It's clear that those who have come to ICOT share a passion for critical thinking. Insight Assessment brings a focus on the importance of assessing reasoning skills in individuals and groups to document training success and to identify areas where more training is needed. The conference continues until Friday. ICOT members come together once every two years. The rumor is that the next conference will be in Miami ,Florida.

            Report from the Insight Assessment team at ICOT 2015 in Bilbao Spain

ICOT 2015

ICOT 2015 international Conference on Thinking has opened in Bilbao, Spain! Insight Assessment salutes the over 2000 conference attendees who are dedicating four days to focus on the global importance of developing critical thinking in business, education, sports and the arts.  We’re excited to be able to discuss measuring and training good thinking with this enthusiastic group.

 If you’re attending the conference, stop by our booth. We invite you to attend these presentations by Insight Assessment senior researcher Dr. Peter Facione:


1ST JULY: The Educational Power of Measuring Critical Thinking. (available by conference videostream)  Dr. Facione will discuss effective ways of teaching for thinking at all educational levels in all disciplines. He will examine group datasets to demonstrate how the measurement of critical thinking can empower educators and enable more effective student learning.
2ND JULY: Training and Measuring Leadership Decision Making.  Dr. Facione will talk about the importance of critical thought in companies. Leaders with strong thinking skills take advantage of opportunities through effective decision-making, discover opportunities where others can't, encourage collaborative learning and lead the team efficiently.  He will use data gathered by the INSIGHT series of test instruments to discuss practical insights about the potential effectiveness or ineffectiveness of various approaches to training employee thinking at all levels of the business or professional organizations.
 2ND JULY: Round Table on the topic of “Skills for Successful Leadership in Business in which Dr. Facione will link leadership decision making directly to the educational learning outcomes known as critical thinking.

If you’re not able to attend the conference, check out the ICOT website, http://www.icot2015.com for instructions on video-streaming presentations and for free access to the ICOT papers after the conference. Watch for a guest post from our conference participants at the close of the conference.

To find out more about Insight Assessment’s commitment to the International Measurement of Critical Thinking .

ICOT 2015 “The most important conference on thinking in the world”

‘NSIGHT Business Staff’ words in blue and red - name of a product that assesses workplace problem-solving skills and work ethic

The Work Ethics Most Valued by Leaders

The modern definition of what constitutes a good work ethic often varies.  Different businesses have different expectations. 

In Healthcare, for example, following the rules is paramount.  To deviate may lead to injury or death.  In Advertising, there is a greater emphasis on creativity.  Breaking the rules can result in innovative campaigns that boost the client’s bottom line.  The beliefs and behaviors that define work ethic must closely align with your customer needs.   The customer, in this instance, is always right.

There are common traits, however, which characterize an effective executive, manager or worker, regardless of industry sector.  Basically, how someone acts ethically, in life, translates directly into the workplace.  Employees with outstanding work ethics display the following.

1.  Desire to think

Not only has the ability to think critically, but to apply itSees the value of thinking things through before making decisions and when resolving problems.

2.  Commitment

Is loyally oriented to the job, company goals and mission.

3.  Honesty

Respects other people's property, follows rules, keeps promises, and tells the truth. 

4.  Regard for safety

Values workplace safety rules and precautions for personal and co-worker safety. Avoids unnecessary risks.

5.  Professionalism

Takes an appropriate approach to social interactions at work. Maintains focus on work responsibilities.

6.  Motivated

Eagerly focuses energy on accomplishing tasks, also referred to as demonstrating ownership. Takes pride in work.

7.  Tolerance

Respects diversity in the workplace, including showing due respect for different perspectives, opinions and suggestions. 

8.  Flexibility

Is resilient. Able to welcome and adapt to changing workplace situations and the application of new or different skills.

9.  Desire to learn

Willing to learn new processes, systems and procedures in light of changing responsibilities.

10.  Dependability

Motivated to complete assigned tasks well, taking pride in the accomplishment of work assignments.

Is a strong work ethic important?

Every business needs people who get things done without intense supervision. Your business success is powered by staff who efficiently interact with clients. They are able to represent your policies, procedures and fuel your corporate growth.  INSIGHT Business Staff will help you discover the people who have the work ethic and problem solving skills needed for customer satisfaction and project success.

Yes? Then, assess the work ethic of your employees.

INSIGHT Business Staff objectively assesses and reports an individual’s strengths and weaknesses on these 10 mindset attributes plus 5 core thinking skills . Everyday, relevant, scenarios in the assessment will challenge a staff member to anticipate the needs of customers.  They will demonstrate their abilities through interpreting and understanding analytical information that contributes to team problem solving.  Comprehensive reports provide valuable insights for making individual hiring and promotion decisions. Further, these reports identify areas for improvement, training and, overall, building strong, productive teams.  Assessments, geared for middle level mangers and your executive leadership, are also available.

Make sure you can rely on your people to get things done well.   Contact us today.

Jobe candidates waiting in line for an interview

How do you assess second career applicants? Much of the available workforce is re-entry from a previous skill set. You can build your confidence doing interviews trying to connect your needs with their abilities, but ultimately you are determining whether to bring them on subjectively.

INSIGHT Business Professional provides metrics for 14 objective quantitative attributes and skills that will give you a better picture on how new candidate strengths will port. It will help you evaluate their ability to learn and think in ways that are important to you.  INSIGHT Business Professional assesses professional mindset and problem solving skills using complex, multi-layer situations; in order to answer the questions, individuals must employ their reasoning skills to make decisions about the next steps to resolve the dilemma.  Based on responses, we identify how decisions were made and measure the application of reasoning skills.

Resumes and credentials provide selfie snapshots of the past; INSIGHT Business Professional provides reliable insights into how applicants will apply current skills and experience to new job requirements. That’s why increasing numbers of employers are using thinking skills as a framework for assessing competencies and potential.  

Today many individuals are re-entering the job market looking for new opportunities; from veterans and retirees with non-traditional paths to laid off workers, their resumes are filling your inbox. Many wouldn’t be able to make the transition to your job expectations. But some of those candidates have strong problem solving skills and the drive to excel and accomplish goals . INSIGHT gives you the confidence to identify the future employees who are eager to learn new skills and to succeed.

Call us. Hire with confidence.

Honesty is

The primary cause of employee failure is a lack of personal integrity. Some individuals make a deliberate decision to take advantage of an opportunity, to do—and take—what they want.  They consciously evaluate the risks, anticipate the gains and then prioritize their self-interest over the consequences to others.  Their compromised ethical standards leave clients, customers, managers and entire companies bearing the cost in lost trust, lost revenues, tarnished reputations and lost company credibility. Other employees act without thinking decisions through, resulting in errors. Insight Assessment clients use INSIGHT Business Professional to identify risks of deliberate misconduct as well as the risks of poor decision making skills.

INSIGHT Business Professional  objectively and reliably measures 10 professional mindsets including honesty, integrity, commitment, professionalism and motivation. Comprehensive individual reports document strengths and weaknesses in the essential cognitive thinking skills and mindset attributes that are the basis of good decision making.

Warren Buffet, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway, provided excellent advice:  "In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don't have the first, the other two will kill you." 

Contact us. You need to be able to trust your employees. INSIGHT delivers the data you need to hire strong thinkers who can demonstrate integrity and a drive for success.

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

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