The CAT instrument is a unique tool designed to assess and promote the improvement of critical thinking and real-world problem solving skills. Most of the questions require short answer essay responses, and a detailed scoring guide helps ensure good scoring reliability. The CAT instrument is scored by the institution's own faculty using the detailed scoring guide. During the scoring process faculty are able to see their students' weaknesses and understand areas that need improvement. Faculty are encouraged to use the CAT instrument as a model for developing authentic assessments and learning activities in their own discipline that improve students' critical thinking and real-world problem solving skills. These features help close the loop in assessment and quality improvement.
Critical Thinking, Evaluation, Creative Thinking, Written Communication, Problem Solving, Learning Orientation
Must be faculty at university or researcher to utilize. Grading training also required: Each institution must send 2-3 reps to a 2 day grading workshop: https://www.tntech.edu/cat/training.php
Access and Use
$9.95/test (50 test minimum) + $300 Annual Fee
Assistant Director of Testing
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Grant, M., & Smith, M. (2018). Quantifying assessment of undergraduate critical thinking. Journal of College Teaching & Learning (TLC), 15(1), 27-38. https://doi.org/10.19030/tlc.v15i1.10199
Harris, K., Stein, B., Haynes, A., Lisic, E., & Leming, K. (2014). Identifying courses that improve students’ critical thinking skills using the CAT instrument: a case study. In Proceedings of the 10th Annual International Joint Conferences on Computer, Information, System Sciences, and Engineering (Vol. 10, pp. 1-4). https://www.tntech.edu/cat/pdf/reports/Harris_EIAE.pdf
Haynes, A., Lisic, E., Goltz, M., Stein, B., & Harris, K. (2016). Moving beyond assessment to improving students’ critical thinking skills: a model for implementing change. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 16(4), 44–61. https://doi.org/10.14434/josotl.v16i4.19407.
Styers, M. L., Van Zandt, P. A., & Hayden, K. L. (2018). Active learning in flipped life science courses promotes development of critical thinking skills. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 17(3), ar39. https://doi.org/10.1187/cbe.16-11-0332
Technical Manual - Tennessee Technological University (2016) CAT© Instrument Technical Information: https://www.tntech.edu/cat/pdf/reports/CAT_Technical_Information_V8.pdf
National Science Foundation Final Report - https://www.tntech.edu/cat/pdf/reports/Project_CAT_Final_Report.pdf
Basha, S., Drane, D., & Light, G. (2016). Adapting the Critical Thinking Assessment Test for Palestinian Universities. Journal of Education and Learning, 5(2), 60-72. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1097388
Possin, K. (2020). CAT Scan: A Critical Review of the Critical-Thinking Assessment Test. Informal Logic, 40(3), 489-508. https://doi.org/10.22329/il.v40i30.6243
Stein, B., & Haynes, A. (2011). Engaging faculty in the assessment and improvement of students' critical thinking using the critical thinking assessment test. Change: the magazine of higher learning, 43(2), 44-49. https://doi.org/10.1080/00091383.2011.550254