California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST)

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CCTST Purpose:

The CCTST is designed to permit test-takers to demonstrate the critical thinking skills required to succeed in settings where solving problems and making decisions by forming reasoned judgments are important. Used throughout the United States and in many countries and languages around the world, the CCTST has been proven to predict strength in critical thinking in authentic problem situations and success on professional licensure examinations.

In educational settings the CCTST is recommended for evaluating program applicants, advising individual students, learning outcomes assessment, program evaluation, accreditation and research

CCTST Overview

The California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST) is an objective measure of the core reasoning skills needed for reflective decision making concerning what to believe or what to do. The CCTST is designed to engage the test-taker’s reasoning skills.

  • Multiple choice items use everyday scenarios, appropriate to the intended test-taker group. Each item requires that the test-taker make an accurate and complete interpretation of the question.  Any specialized information needed to respond correctly is provided in the question itself.

  • The test items range in difficulty and complexity. Different questions progressively invite test-takers to analyze or to interpret information presented in text, charts, or images; to draw accurate and warranted inferences; to evaluate inferences and explain why they represent strong reasoning or weak reasoning; or to explain why a given evaluation of an inference is strong or weak.

  • The instrument is typically administered in 45-50 minutes; the length of the instrument is set to permit maximum performance within the range of possible effort for the intended test-taker group.

Scale Scores Reported:

The CCTST provides an array of scale scores describing strengths and weaknesses in various skill areas. 

  • The California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST) returns scores on these scales: Overall Reasoning Skills, Analysis, Interpretation, Evaluation, Explanation, Inference, Deduction, Induction and Numeracy.

Test Administration

Insight Assessment offers the industry’s most complete and cost-effective array of testing options including online and traditional paper-and-pencil solutions.

Secure, encrypted online testing is available 24x7x365 with our multilingual delivery options.   Our browser or app based online system provides the option of taking our assessments on virtually any device. 

Tests are available any time any where, whether directly at your site or multiple sites, at test centers or to individual devices.

Recommended Companion Assessment

Engaging problems and making decisions using critical thinking involves both skills and habits of mind. For a complete assessment of a test taker’s critical thinking, it is recommended that both skills and dispositions be measured. Using companion assessments results in a comprehensive measurement of whether a test taker is ‘willing and able’ to think well.

We recommend that the CCTST be taken in conjunction with the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory (CCTDI).

CCTST Family of Critical Thinking Skills Tests

The CCTST is not one test. It is a dynamic family of tests – different versions for different age levels or professional fields. The instruments in the CCTST family of critical thinking tests are designed for use with persons at different educational levels — elementary school through doctoral degree holders. Some versions use question content attuned to everyday concerns and general education. Other versions focus question content on the interests and concerns of specific professional fields, e.g. health sciences, business, law and government, or military and defense. Specialized information needed to respond correctly in a given case is provided within the questions themselves.The CCTST is based on the Delphi Expert Consensus Definition of Critical Thinking.  


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