California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST)
The California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST) is a research-based, discipline neutral assessment for undergraduate and graduate level students or comparable population groups. It is trusted worldwide as a valid, objective and reliable measure of core reasoning skills.
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
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.
Insight Assessment offers the industry’s most complete and cost-effective array of testing options including online and traditional paper-and-pencil solutions.
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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.
The CCTST returns scores on these scales: Overall Reasoning Skills, Analysis, Interpretation, Evaluation, Explanation, Inference, Deduction, Induction and Numeracy.
CCTST Scale Descriptions
Reasoning Skills Overall
Analytical skills are used to identify assumptions, reasons, themes, and the evidence used in making arguments or offering explanations. Analytical skills enable us to consider all the key elements in any given situation, and to determine how those elements relate to one another. People with strong analytical skills notice important patterns and details. People use analysis to gather the most relevant information from spoken language, documents, signs, charts, graphs, and diagrams.
Interpretation is the process of discovering, determining, or assigning meaning. Interpretation skills can be applied to anything, e.g. written messages, charts, diagrams, maps, graphs, memes, and verbal and non-verbal exchanges. People apply their interpretive skills to behaviors, events, and social interactions when deciding what they think something means in a given context.
Inference skills enable us to draw conclusions from reasons, evidence, observations, experiences, or our values and beliefs. Using Inference, we can predict the most likely consequences of the options we may be considering. Inference enables us to see the logical consequences of the assumptions we may be making. Sound inferences rely on accurate information. People with strong inference skills draw logical or highly reliable conclusions using all forms of analogical, probabilistic, empirical, and mathematical reasoning.
Evaluative reasoning skills enable us to assess the credibility of sources of information and the claims they make. We use these skills to determine the strength or weakness of arguments. Applying evaluation skills we can judge the quality of analyses, interpretations, explanations, inferences, options, opinions, beliefs, ideas, proposals, and decisions. Strong explanation skills can support high-quality evaluation by providing the evidence, reasons, methods, criteria, or assumptions behind the claims made and the conclusions reached.
Explanation is the process of justifying what we have decided to do or what we have decided to believe. People with strong explanation skills provide the evidence, methods, and considerations they actually relied on when making their judgment. Explanations can include our assumptions, reasons, values, and beliefs. Strong explanations enable others to understand and to evaluate our decisions.
Deductive reasoning is rigorously logical and clear cut. Deductive skills are used whenever we determine the precise logical consequences of a given set of rules, conditions, beliefs, values, policies, principles, procedures, or terminology. Deductive reasoning is deciding what to believe or what to do in precisely defined contexts that rely on strict rules and logic. Deductive validity results in a conclusion which absolutely cannot be false, if the assumptions or premises from which we started all are true. Deductive validity leaves no room for uncertainty. That is, unless we decide to change the very meanings of our words or the grammar of our language.
Inductive reasoning relies on estimating likely outcomes. Decision making in contexts of uncertainty relies on inductive reasoning. Inductive decisions can be based on analogies, case studies, prior experience, statistical analyses, simulations, hypotheticals, trusted testimony, and the patterns we may recognize in a set of events, experiences, symptoms or behaviors. Inductive reasoning always leaves open the possibility, however remote, that a highly probable conclusion might be mistaken. Although it does not yield certainty, inductive reasoning can provide a solid basis for confidence in our conclusions and a reasonable basis for action.
Numeracy refers to the ability to make judgments based on quantitative information in a variety of contexts. People with strong numeracy can describe how quantitative information is gathered, manipulated, and represented textually, verbally, and visually in graphs, charts, tables and diagrams. Numeracy requires all the core critical thinking skills. Numeracy includes being thoughtfully reflective while interpreting the meaning of information expressed in charts, graphs, or text formats, analyzing those elements, drawing accurate inferences from that information, and explaining and evaluating how those conclusions were reached.
High quality objective metrics
The CCTST has been designed to deliver high quality objective metrics on the strengths and weaknesses of key aspects of thinking.
CCTST reports deliver individual and group results in a presentation ready format. Each report includes a wide range of statistical and demographic information about individuals and/or test-taker groups. Test-taker scores and group summaries are presented with interpretative analysis by Insight Assessment measurement scientists.
The CCTST measures and reports on an array of reasoning skill scale scores. The CCTST provides an overall measure of thinking skills (Total Score) and the following individual scale scores: Analysis, Interpretation, Inference, Evaluation, Explanation, Induction, Deduction and Numeracy.
The Assessment Report package includes:
- Individual test-taker analytics:
- an overall score of thinking ability (Overall Score)
- a categorical interpretation of the strength of the Overall Score and scale scores
- a norm-referenced percentile ranking (applicable to skills assessments only)
- scale scores to indicate which of the skills areas are particularly strong and which are weaker and require training attention.
- test administrators control whether test-takers receive their individual results after testing.
- Group analytics include:
- descriptive statistics and presentation ready graphic representation of the average Overall score and scale scores for the group
- descriptive graphics and representations including size of the group, mean, median, standard deviation, standard error of the mean, lowest score, highest score, first quartile score and third quartile score. To see video about interpreting group report histograms
- descriptive statistics of the demographic characteristics of the test-taker group (if collected
- the average percentile of group as compared to a pre-selected external norm group (applicable to skills assessments only). For more information on norm-referenced scores
- Electronic data files spreadsheet with all scale scores and demographic responses.
- User Manual which includes chapters on interpreting individual and group test-taker scores using our 4-Step Process.
Data to achieve assessment goals
Insight Assessment clients depend on the comprehensive data and analysis in a CCTST report to provide the insights needed to achieve their assessment goals.
Clients are currently using individual data for professional development, student or intern placement, hiring, advising, competency training.
Group data is being used for new cohort assessment, outcomes assessment, demonstrating the quality of an educational or training program, demonstrating group proficiency, staff development, admissions and more.
Clients can customize their results package with additional analyses, graphics and interpretative text discussing your scores in relationship to your particular goals and objectives. For further information, see Insight Assessment Reports and Analytics
Individual and group scores are provided for all Insight Assessment test takers. Different groups of test takers have very different performance levels and therefore their scores differ quite a bit on scientifically developed measures of cognitive ability. It is important to understand how your group of test takers compares to selected external comparison groups, for example, the population of comparable regional or national peer groups.
The reports for each Insight Assessment test instrument provide scores that can be benchmarked against a variety of external comparison groups so that our clients are able to evaluate the scores of individual test takers or of their entire group. If you do not see what you are specifically looking for, contact us to discuss your needs with a testing specialist.
Comparison Percentiles Available for the CCTST
Two Year Colleges
Four Year Colleges and Universities
Graduate Students and Professionals
Health Sciences Undergraduate Students
Health Science Graduate Students
STEM Undergraduate Students
Research1 Undergraduate Students
NEW! Globally Ranked Baccalaureate
NEW! Globally Ranked Graduate
NEW! Regional Open-Admissions Baccalaureate
Some of the current authorized translations of the California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST) are listed below. Insight Assessment is constantly working on expanding the multilingual capabilities of our products. If you do not see what you are specifically looking for, please contact us to determine if it is available.
Indonesian – Bahasa
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- a brief description of each metric being assessed by the instrument;
- a description of how to interpret both individual and group assessment results;
- a discussion of validity and reliability for the measures;
- all necessary information about administration of the assessment;
- many additional resources that we hope you will find useful for designing your assessment project.
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