• Techniques for Assessing Critical Thinking Skills

    The Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) featured on this site are simple tools for assessing students' critical thinking skills in any discipline.  Student responses on the CCSSE survey revealed that CCAC students are less likely than their peers to report that their experience contributed to their ability to think critically and analytically. 

    Classroom assessment is useful for two reasons.  First, it gives the instructor the opportunity to reinforce the material taught in class.  Second, it helps uncover gaps in learning early enough to address problems before students are tested.  Please consider adding one or more of these CATs to your repertoire of useful techniques.

    Assessing Skill in Analysis and Critical Thinking (PDF)
    Assessing Skill in Synthesis and Creative Thinking (PDF)
    Assessing Skill in Problem Solving (PDF)
    Assessing Skill in Application and Performance (PDF)


    Ground Rules for conducting classroom assessment:

    • Classroom Assessment Techniques are simple tools for collecting data on student learning in order to improve it.  CATs are not graded.
    • CATs help instructors identify what students are learning and how well they are learning it before being tested.
    • Start small, keep it simple.  Try one simple technique to begin.
    • Student responses are usually anonymous.
    • Always test the assessment on yourself or a colleague first.
    • Provide feedback to the class as soon a possible.


    Source: Classroom Assessment Techniques, Angelo and Cross (1993) available in CCAC libraries.  This book provides step by step instructions, examples, and ideas for adapting techniques.