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Strong critical thinking predicts academic and professional success

Insight Assessment critical thinking test instruments are used globally to objectively identify the student applicants who have the strongest critical thinking skills and the desire to apply those skills.  Many clients use this reliable and nationally benchmarked assessment data as an essential component in their admissions process.

Here are some of the frequently asked questions about the value of incorporating the assessment of critical thinking in the admissions.

Why consider candidate critical thinking as part of the admissions process?

Whatever else is being considered, admitting people who are both willing and able to think is an important element in developing and sustaining a high-quality admission process.

If candidates do not demonstrate sufficient reasoning skills strength or the positive internal motivation and drive to make a success of themselves, then they are much less likely to succeed academically.  A high-quality admissions process which consistently yields a strong and successful cadre of new students is vitally important when programs are over-subscribed.

Admissions decisions are scrutinized when retention rates and graduation rates are being carefully tracked, when the consequences of admitting underprepared applicants can have a negative impact on other students, on the morale of the faculty and staff, or on the overall reputation of the program.  Critical thinking admissions data can be used to document the overall success of the program as well as specific applicants. Multitask with the right admissions tools

What metrics are the most important for admissions?

Different programs will find different metrics of value, but in general, on the skills dimensions the OVERALL reasoning skills score is an excellent marker of the applicant’s strength. To score well overall, the applicant must excel in the sustained, focused and integrated application of the core thinking skills, including analysis, interpretation, inference, evaluation, explanation, induction and deduction.

The OVERALL score is the best predictor of the capacity for success in educational or workplace settings which demand reasoned decision making and thoughtful problem solving.  Looking at specific skill metrics makes sense for programs that have specialized academic learning demands.  For example, STEM programs and programs that demand strengths in quantitative reasoning will probably focus on the Numeracy Score along with the OVERALL score.

The mindset metrics that are most interesting for transfer student and non-traditional or returning adult admissions purposes include the Motivation to Learn, the Drive to Succeed, and Resilience as assessed on the College Success Mindset.  For graduate professional schools using the CCTDI, metrics like Truth-Seeking, Foresight, and Maturity of Judgment are considered important. 

What score is the most useful – the numerical score, the qualitative evaluation, or the percentile?

Insight Assessment test instruments report at least two scores for every metric:  numerical and qualitative. Highly competitive programs may wish to establish a numerical cut score as a threshold for consideration for admissions.  Other programs may wish to identify a qualitative level, e.g. “strong” or “positive” which all admitted students should have achieved.  Clients are able to decide which score option is most relevant to their program goals.

Percentile scores are associated only with the OVERALL skills score.  Percentiles are benchmark comparisons. The client organization determines which comparison group percentiles to be associated with the OVERALL score.  For instance, a professional school of nursing may select the Health Sciences Reasoning Test as its admissions test.  The school can decide whether it wants to use graduate student percentiles, four-year undergraduate student percentiles, or two-year associate degree level student percentiles. That decision depends on the level of the program for which applicants are being evaluated.  Percentiles, Norms and Comparison Groups

See specific  assessments for the metrics they measure and the comparison percentiles that are available

Can a program use its admission data for other purposes?

Yes, absolutely.  Admissions data can be thought of as pretest data. As such, those data can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of curricular innovations or to describe the entering class or cohort of students to interested stakeholders.   Data is also frequently used in cross-sectional or longitudinal studies of program effectiveness or in accreditation self-study reports.  Why link assessment, admissions and accreditation

Since the data can be downloaded in an Excel spreadsheet, it is relatively easy to integrate information about the critical thinking skills and learning mindset attributes of large groups of students with other institutional data or uploaded into research quality software programs such as SPSS or Minitab.

What can be included in the custom demographic questions?

The Insight Assessment online testing system enables clients to add as many as ten of their own custom demographic questions .  The responses to those questions are included in the downloadable Excel spreadsheet available at any time to the program’s test administrator.

Some undergraduate student admissions clients ask about prior work experience, some inquire about the applicant’s age, or which languages the applicant speaks.  At the graduate level some clients include questions about the applicant’s undergraduate major, which sub-specialty the applicant may be interested in pursuing, or whether the applicant intends to enroll full time or part time. 

Our experienced staff can assist with the wording of demographic questions, but the questions themselves depend on the information that the client believes to be relevant for purposes of informing itself about its applicants individually or as a group.  Two formats are available – open text or pull-down menu.  The pull-down menu format is by far the most widely used because it enables easily quantifying the proportionate number who select each response. 

How are the individual and the group reports used in admissions?

The individual report details an applicant’s scores on each reasoning skill or each mindset attribute assessed. Thus, the individual report gives the best overall picture of that applicant’s different strengths or areas that may need further development. Because the individual report focuses on only one applicant, it can be a useful document for individualized conversations with the applicant or advisor meetings with the newly admitted student.

The group report includes tables and charts that give useful information about the entire admissions pool, or about sub-sets of that pool.  Because the data can be aggregated or disaggregated by any of the demographic factors, group reports can be generated in a matter of minutes by programs interested in comparing sub-groups of applicants.  Tables of descriptive statistics and colorful bar charts give an accurate and complete picture of how a group of applicants performed on each metric.   Group reports covering multiple applicant cohorts supply information that can reveal multi-year trends in the quality of the applicant pool.

Contact us today to discuss how critical thinking data can support your admissions program.

CCTST MIB

K-12 schools use EDUCATE INSIGHT assessments to assess critical thinking because they need objective information to assist them in identifying applicants who are ready, willing, and able to think and to learn.

Assessing Critical thinking for Selective Admissions

Today the pressure on selective schools is immense, as parents, eager to provide the best possible start in life for their children, strive to have them admitted to the best schools possible.  But a tsunami of applications can actually present problems for selective K-12 schools.   Schools know that it is a disservice to admit a child who is not prepared to succeed academically. And schools know that their admissions processes need to be as fair, objective, and thorough as possible. 

To address these twin problems, selective schools are adding critical thinking mindset and critical thinking skills measures to their applications package.

EDUCATE INSIGHT provides a comprehensive thinking assessment program with instruments calibrated for students from kindergarten to high school.

EDUCATE INSIGHT K-12 Thinking Mindset 

  • As a first screen on admissions, schools use EDUCATE INSIGHT thinking mindset tools to assess a child’s expectations and attitudes toward using thinking to learn things and to solve problems. Parents and teachers know that a positive desire to engage in thinking and learning is very important to a child’s educational success.  By contrast, students who are unwilling to apply themselves are not only difficult to teach, they take valuable places away from more deserving applicants. Used as part of an admissions package, EDUCATE INSIGHT thinking mindset assessments provide objective information about the applicant’s mental focus, learning orientation, and approach to problem solving. 

EDUCATE INSIGHT K-12 Reasoning Skills 

  • Children with stronger critical thinking skills have a huge advantage at every educational level. That is why schools use the EDUCATE INSIGHT reasoning skills series as part of the second, more refined, admissions screening to identify strengths and weaknesses in core thinking skills.

Critical thinking skills empower learning.  By engaging their skills children learn important content and, at the same time, they exercise and strengthen those skills.

  • Just like learning a sport or a musical instrument, critical thinking skills grow stronger when guided by the teacher’s watchful coaching. Learning is so much more than memorizing facts.  Ultimately education means learning to think well. Through education, as contrasted with rote memorization, a child learns to be analytical, to draw reasonable inferences, and to explain why and how things work. Through learning to think, the child becomes able to correctly evaluate the credibility and the quality of reasons and information.  Whether educators are using a Montessori approach or some other method to ask “Why?” and “How?” questions, engagement in thinking is the key to learning.

EDUCATE INSIGHT assessments are calibrated for use with children at different grade levels, are standardized, objective measures of critical thinking skills. Using scenarios that are familiar and age-appropriate, these tests invite children to apply their reasoning skills in order to analyze information, to draw inferences, to evaluate options and explanations. 

It is important to note that no specific test prep is needed before taking a critical thinking skills test beyond general education focused on the development of critical thinking skills.  A good critical thinking test is not going to be a test of factual knowledge about critical thinking. Memorizing information and definitions is not the key. A good reasoning test will engage you in using your thinking skills and mindset because critical thinking is a process. 

Bottom Line: selective K-12 schools incorporate EDUCATE INSIGHT into their application process because they know strong critical thinking predicts academic and professional success. Making the measurement of critical thinking at program entry strengthens comprehensive selective admission and placement programs.

Contact us today to learn more about how you can use the EDUCATE INSIGHT K-12 series to measure what matters most – critical thinking.

Follow our blog, Thinking INSIGHT , for resources and further discussion of the measurement of thinking skills and mindset.

Linking critical thinking assessment, accreditation and admissions

Every academic leader needs to know how the institution can use their impending regional accreditation to accomplish something meaningful. 

If we have to engage lots of people and sink hours and hours of work into the project, what can we get out of all that time and effort that will actually benefit our students and our institution?

To create a win-win-win opportunity, many institutions are linking institutional accreditation with learning outcomes assessment and admissions.

             Here’s how:

Collect and Use Learning Outcomes Assessment Data: 

  • Even before the self-study year is upon them, institutions begin by gathering objective baseline data on entering students’ critical thinking.
     
  • Whichever instrument is selected, that same tool is then used to gather exiting data, ideally longitudinally, on those same students.  But if matching pre-test with post-test is not possible, the next option is using cross-sectional data on the graduating students.  An optimal plan, if the timing permits, is to gather the post-test data in the year before the accreditation self-study will be started.   
  • Comparing entry pretest data with exit post-test data enables the institution to address the student outcomes assessment question in a meaningful way.  The reports generated by the Insight Assessment testing system enable faculty to readily identify which critical thinking skills and habits of mind are most in need of attention through curricular enhancement or stronger academic advising and retention related programming.

Link Pre-Test and Student Success Data to Admissions:

  • Insight Assessment report graphic showing pretest to posttest distribution of scores on a mindset scale
    Retention and graduation rates soar when the students entering a program have the critical thinking skills to learn the material and, if necessary, to pass licensure exams.
  • Every academic Insight Assessment test instrument enables academic leaders in the Provost’s Office, Admissions Department, and Deans’ Offices to identify a relevant target overall critical thinking skills score or a set of critical thinking mindset scores against which to evaluate program applicants.
  • The scores on these instruments are provided as numerical / quantitative and as categorical / qualitative.  Along with other relevant considerations, selective admissions decisions can be better informed and an entry class or cohort can be constructed that has the optimal potential for program success.

Link Institutional Accreditation to Student Success:

  • These learning outcomes assessment findings, their interpretation and application then become a major substantive element in the institution’s accreditation self-study document.  That document shows how the institution identified critical thinking, a core learning outcome, measured it objectively with nationally benchmarked instruments, analyzed the results and used those findings to address any areas of curricular concern that may have emerged.
  • The research on student success is unambiguous when it comes to the link between critical thinking and learning.
Summing up – to get the most out of the time, money, and effort that is going to be spent on these essential institutional activities, link assessment, accreditation and selective admissions. 

And, of course, do so focusing on an essential learning outcome, namely critical thinking, and by using Insight Assessment’s premier academic testing instruments .

Contact us to get started.

Follow our blog, Thinking INSIGHT , for resources and further discussion of the measurement of thinking skills and mindset.

Linking critical thinking assessment, accreditation and admissions

Student success is not guaranteed once letters of acceptance go out. 

Admissions officers have a tough job. Each year they are responsible for identifying the best possible class of incoming students. They need to admit the students who are most likely to succeed in their coursework and to make a successful transition to student life. Wading through a confusing web of test scores, GPAs, recommendations, interviews, essays, etc. to identify promising candidates is an ongoing challenge.

The ability to identify applicants who have the strongest critical thinking skills and the desire to apply those skills should be an essential component of individual admission decisions, placement and advising.

There is probably no more important predictor of college level success than strength of critical thinking skills. Strong reasoning skills and positive thinking habits of mind are vital to academic success in every discipline and major field of study. That’s why colleges and universities depend on  Insight Assessment test instruments for selective admissions, transfer placement and more. Our validated, easy to use critical thinking skills and thinking mindset assessments are essential academic tools worldwide.   

Each Insight Assessment tool can be used to gather comprehensive objective data for multiple initiatives:

Contact us to find out how Insight Assessment tools can provide data for all your thinking assessment needs from admissions through graduation.  Make sure your incoming class includes students ready to learn and succeed.

Insight Assessment invites you to follow our blog, Thinking INSIGHT .

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

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