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What is Validity in Assessments?

Have you ever wondered if critical thinking skills can be assessed using a multiple choice test?   

We sat down with Dr. Peter Facione, founder of Insight Assessment and the author of numerous books and the research paper, Critical Thinking: What it is and Why it Counts. He answered this and other questions regarding academic, skill, and employment assessments. 

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What is the Difference between Validity and Reliability?

A measuring tool is valid if it measures what you intend it to measure.  For example, it is valid to measure a runner’s speed with a stopwatch, but not with a thermometer. 

A test is reliable if it consistently produces the same result, when used correctly. 

Does Validity and Reliability Apply to Measuring Critical Thinking?

A valid assessment of critical thinking skills would be one that targets the correct list of skills. 

This means that scores on the test will be responsive to the quality of the test-taker’s skills. In this instance, in analysis, inference, evaluation, interpretation, explanation and self-regulation as used in the process of judging what to believe or what to do.  

A reliable assessment of critical thinking will yield essentially the same results, if the same test takers retake the test without having done anything in the meanwhile to increase or to diminish their critical thinking skills.   

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Why Choose Insight Assessment Solutions

At Insight Assessment measurement is taken very seriously.

  • Our products measuring reasoning skills and mindset has been studied in a variety of populations and contexts over the past 30 years.
  • In each case, items/scales are piloted in target samples and validated in replicated studies (trainees, students, employees, military personnel, K-12 students, health professionals, and the general population) to assure the performance of the assessments in the intended population.

Peter Facione, PhD

Founder and Senior Researcher at Insight Assessment, the leading provider of critical thinking assessments and development programs; principal at Measured Reasons LLC, a Los Angeles based research and consulting firm supporting excellence in strategic thinking and leadership decision making.  Dr. Facione is the developer of the California Critical Thinking Skills Test family of measurement tools. His latest book is Think Critically, 2016, coauthored with Carol Ann Gittens, PhD.

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