To score well overall, the test taker must excel in the sustained, focused and integrated application of core reasoning skills including analysis, interpretation, inference, evaluation, explanation, induction, and deduction. The OVERALL Score predicts the capacity for success in educational or workplace settings which demand reasoned decision making and thoughtful problem solving.
ANALYSIS: Analytical reasoning skills enable people to identify assumptions, reasons, and claims, and to examine how they interact in the formation of arguments. We use analysis to gather information from charts, graphs, diagrams, spoken language, and documents. People with strong analytical skills attend to patterns and to details. They identify the elements of a situation and determine how those elements interact.
Strong interpretation skills can support high-quality analysis by providing insights into the significance of what a person is saying or what something means. Correct interpretation depends on understanding the message in its context and in terms of who sent it, and for what purpose.
Interpretation includes clarifying what something or someone means, grouping or categorizing information, and determining the significance of a message. We use inference when we offer thoughtful suggestions and hypotheses. Inference skills indicate the necessary or the very probable consequences of a given set of facts and conditions. Conclusions, hypotheses, recommendations, or decisions that are based on faulty analyses, misinformation, bad data, or biased evaluations can turn out to be mistaken, even if they have been reached using excellent inference skills.
We use these skills to determine the strength or weakness of arguments.
California Critical Thinking Skills Tests (CCTST)
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.
Strong explanatory skills enable people to discover, to test, and to articulate the reasons for beliefs, events, actions, and decisions. We use inductive reasoning skills when we draw inferences about what we think is probably true based on analogies, case studies, prior experience, statistical analyses, simulations, hypotheticals, and patterns recognized in familiar objects, events, experiences, and behaviors.
Although it does not yield certainty, inductive reasoning can provide a confident basis for solid belief in our conclusions and a reasonable basis for action.
DEDUCTION: Decision making in precisely defined contexts where rules, operating conditions, core beliefs, values, policies, principles, procedures, and terminology completely determine the outcome depends on strong deductive reasoning skills. Deductive reasoning moves with exacting precision from the assumed truth of a set of beliefs to a conclusion that cannot be false if those beliefs are true.
Deductive validity is rigorously logical and clear-cut. Deductive validity leaves no room for uncertainty, unless one alters the meanings of words or the grammar of the language. Versions that Include Numeracy Reasoning in mathematical contexts Numeracy is an important component of Twenty First Century education and a key skill for the STEM, health care, and business related programs and professional practice. The ability to interpret graphs and charts that express information numerically, to frame problems with attention to quantitative data, and to make judgments based on the analysis and evaluation of mathematical information are only a few examples of why it is valuable to assess critical thinking skills in the context of numeracy.
Numeracy is vital for success in today s heavily quantitative academic and professional learning and decision making environments. The measure of numeracy included with adoption of the CCTST-N defines Numeracy as follows: NUMERACY: Numeracy skills are used when applying knowledge of numbers, arithmetic, measures, and mathematical techniques to situations that require the interpretation or evaluation of information. Numeracy refers to the ability to solve quantitative reasoning problems, or to make judgments derived from quantitative reasoning in a variety of contexts.
More than being able to compute a solution to a mathematical equation, numeracy includes the understanding of how quantitative information is gathered, manipulated, and represented visually, such as in graphs, charts, tables, and diagrams.
Numeracy is the ability to solve quantitative reasoning problems and to make well-reasoned judgments derived from quantitative information in a variety of contexts. More than being able to compute or calculate a solution to a mathematical equation, numeracy includes understanding how quantitative information is gathered, represented, and correctly interpreted using graphs, charts, tables, and diagrams.
A person with strong numeracy skills can apply his or her knowledge of numbers, arithmetic, algebraic relationships, geometric relationships, and mathematical techniques to situations that require the interpretation or evaluation of quantitative information. The person with strong numeracy skills is able to recognize and use quantitative information, patterns, ratios, percentages, spatial relationships, and statistical information intelligently and correctly when drawing conclusions, making estimates, and explaining or predicting events or behavior.
Spreadsheets are the order of the day. Professionals in every field know that key decisions often depend on a thorough weighing of costs and benefits, accurate projections of likely outcomes, and the ability to interpret correctly the complex numerical relationships represented in tables, charts, graphs, blueprints, or diagrams. Numeracy is for everyone. From political polling data to the stats on the sports pages, from the economic news about stocks and interest rates, to the impact on our lives of the price of gas and food, our lives are awash in numerical data.
What does an increase in the cost of living index or a decrease in the unemployment rate mean for me and my family? How much will it cost to earn a college degree and what impact would that degree have on my earning potential? If I put this purchase on my credit card, what will it actually cost me? How does a change in the tax code impact my take-home pay?
Australia has identified numeracy as a national educational goal. That nation operationalizes numeracy for curricular purposes as calculating and estimating, recognizing and using patterns, using fractions, decimals, ratios, rates and percentages, 2 Wiest, L. Quantitative literacy for social justice. The disposition toward critical thinking: Math achievement is more than skill alone manuscript submitted for peer reviewed publication. Salpeter, J. The new literacy. Steen Ed. Why numbers count: Quantitative literacy for tomorrow s America.
Steen, L. Numeracy: The new literacy for a data-drenched society. Educational Leadership, 57 2 , Steen, L. Reading, writing and numeracy.
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Liberal Education, 86 2 , Steen, L. The case for quantitative literacy. Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. Numeracy skills can be thought of as the application of analysis, inference, interpretation, explanation, evaluation, as well as reflection on one s own reasoning process metacognition to numerical and spatial information and relationships.
Children, adolescents, and adults alike need to be able to think critically about the mathematical and numerical information that surrounds them in the media, on the Internet, in schools and workplaces, and in society at large. Carol Gittens points out leading scholars and educators have consistently argued that numeracy rivals reading literacy and language fluency in its importance for learning and for life.
Gittens notes that numerically literate individuals understand the social and pragmatic function of mathematics and have the ability to reason about mathematical information. Numeracy is essential in our data-driven world, if one hopes to be successful in the workplace, to achieve academically, to be engaged citizens, and to make thoughtful and well supported decisions in any domain of life that admits of the relevance of quantitative information.
Many believe it is obvious who the best thinkers are in a given agency or institution. But these impressions are often based on fortunate happenstance, expressions of self-confidence, and hierarchical position in the group, and hindsight. We can no longer afford to be mistaken about best thinking, when error rates are already in question, when difficult problems and decisions must be addressed, and where poor judgments can lead to irreparable damage and even cost lives.
At all ages of life, wherever purposeful and reflective judgment is needed, critical thinking skills and mindset habits of mind are essential. Each of us makes judgments that affect ourselves, our families, our country, and our world. In all of these cases, when the stakes are high, critical thinking is vital. Learning demands strength in critical thinking because learning requires the interpretation and integration of new knowledge and its practical and appropriate application when encountering novel situations, problem conditions and innovative opportunities.
The Australian Curriculum v3. Common Core Standards for Mathematics. Assessing numeracy in the upper elementary and middle school years. Numeracy, Vol. Preparing for the 21st century: The status of quantitative literacy in the United States. School Science and Mathematics, 8 , Gittens and Wood, Predicting middle schoolers future math achievement: The power of an early measure of critical thinking manuscript submitted for peer reviewed publication.
Rivera-Batiz, F. Quantitative literacy and the likelihood of employment among young adults in the United States. Journal of Human Resources, 27 2 , Root, R.
Social justice through quantitative literacy: A course connecting numeracy, engaged citizenship and a just society. In , for example, Hart Research Associates surveyed CEO s and other C-suite executives at more than private sector for-profit and nonprofit organizations. In Robert Wood Johnson Foundation s July Jobs to Careers, Randall Wilson wrote: Early assessment of critical thinking maximizes workforce efficiency and increases the potential for learning and educational effectiveness at all levels. The truth of this claim is even more apparent today.
World culture and an information-intensive everyday life invite us to apply critical thinking to interpret, analyze, evaluate, explain, and draw warranted inferences about what to believe and what to do in a stream of novel and too often time-limited or high-stakes, uncertain situations. For the thinking process to be successful, it must be done with the habits of mind that have been identified as supporting strength in critical thinking. Studies, some of which are listed in the research section of the Insight Assessment website, have consistently shown that strength in critical thinking correlates with workplace and academic success, certification and licensure in the most valued professions, and survival of some of life s most difficult challenges.
We are learning more about how humans actually engage and try to understand problems and how people make judgments. Perhaps more importantly, we are learning more about how they make bad judgments, often without realizing it. When objective measures reveal weaknesses in reasoning skills and habits of mind, there are effective training and teaching techniques that can be used to strengthen those skills and to foster a more positive disposition toward thinking and reasoning.
An honest and concerned appraisal of critical thinking skills and habits of mind manifested by working adults and students in all programs of study, together with a focused response to any demonstrated deficiencies, is the path to growth and achievement for individuals and for society as a whole. What was I thinking? That was a really good decision! That was a terrible decision! We fixed that problem, maybe just in time.
Why didn t we address that when we had the chance? Their presence in the classroom or laboratory causes instructors to slow or alter the training of other students and trainees. Their presence in clinics, internships, or field exercises risk an increase of injuries and liabilities related to likely errors of both inaction and wrong action.
Unaddressed weakness in critical thinking skill results in loss of opportunities, of financial resources, of relationships, and even loss of life. There is probably no other attribute more worthy of measure than critical thinking.
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Human reasoning and problem solving are highly complex processes. Advances in the science of human cognition enable us to analyze, measure, and improve our human problem solving and decision making.
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A measure of critical thinking that describes an individual's comparative strength is a valuable aid in determining a person's capacity to benefit from training or to succeed in their job and in identifying which skills or habits of mind need attention.