Reprinted from Assessing Critical Thinking Skills, 26.3 (2012): 4.

Furthermore, we believe that we can best teach students these skills through hands-on interdisciplinary project-based learning. As EL Education schools, our projects are defined as expeditions lasting 10 to 12 weeks in which students tackle messy, real world problems that don’t have easy paths to solutions nor do they have one clear right answer. Through intentional design of these projects, teachers address the core content and basic skills defined by literacy and content standards; the social skills of collaboration and communication; the intrapersonal skills defined by character; and the broadly applicable cognitive skills of critical thinking and problem solving.

In the life of our schools, we have seen the powerful way that our students through project-based learning have embraced deeper learning outcomes, and exhibited the habits of effective critical thinking, collaboration, and personal character. However, our evidence that this is working is only found in anecdotes and in the quality of student work. We have been unable to demonstrate neither the degree to which students are developing these skills within projects nor their ability to transfer the skills beyond the context of the current project.

Focusing just on the dimensions of critical thinking and problem solving, our teachers expressed frustration at not knowing in concrete terms what those cognitive skills looked like when students exhibited them. Building on our understanding of the essential role that assessment for learning plays in the learning process and the very practical consideration of how we help teachers and students define and work towards developing these skills, we have embarked on a multi-year project to define and assess critical thinking and problem solving.

Critical thinking and problem solving, as we define it, are the set of non-discipline specific cognitive skills people use to analyze vast amounts of information and creatively solve problems. We have broken those skills down into these five core components:

Planning & Assessing Critical Thinking

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,S. (1997).Assessing critical thinking. , 17-29. :Jossey Bass.

Ennis, Theresa. "Assessing and Enhancing Critical Thinking Skills: Enhanced Peer Review (EPR) with the CAT Instrument", 09/01/2006-08/31/2007,  2007, "Ennis, Theresa,(2007). Critical Thinking Skills: Enhanced Peer Review (EPR) with the CAT Instrument. A Dissertation at Tennessee Technological University.".

Critical Thinking Testing and Assessment

Cecil, Misty J.. "The Relationship Between Student Responses on the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and Performance on the Critical-thinking Assessment Test (CAT)", 09/01/2006-08/31/2007,  2006, "Cecil, Misty (2006).The Relationship Between Student Responses on the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and Performance on the Critical-thinking Assessment Test (CAT).".

ETS provides resources to help institutions evaluate the appropriateness of the HEIghten Critical Thinking assessment.
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Assessing Critical Thinking - Wiley Online Library

In this section we will 1) briefly survey existing assessment tools; 2) make recommendations regarding the substance and format of a national assessment tool — the critical thinking domains to be assessed, the varieties of assessment strategies to be used (including sample test items), and the dual interdisciplinary and intradisciplinary scope of the assessment — 3) appraise the value of the proposed assessment strategy for the reform of instruction, and 4) make recommendations regarding the implementation of the assessment.

Assessing Critical Thinking in Higher Education: Current ..

Our review of validity evidence for existing assessments revealed that the quality and quantity of research support varied significantly among existing assessments. Common problems with existing assessments include insufficient evidence of distinct dimensionality, unreliable subscores, noncomparable test forms, and unclear evidence of differential validity across groups of test takers. In a review of the psychometric quality of existing critical thinking assessments, Ku () reported a phenomenon that the studies conducted by researchers not affiliated with the authors of the tests tend to report lower psychometric quality of the tests than the studies conducted by the authors and their affiliates.

Assessing Critical Thinking - Brookfield - 1997 ..

Some of the current translations of the Business Critical Thinking Skills Test 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.