CAT (Critical Thinking Assessment Test)

The Critical-thinking Assessment Test (CAT) was developed with input from faculty across a wide range of institutions and disciplines, with guidance from colleagues in the cognitive/learning sciences and assessment and with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

  • The CAT Instrument is designed to assess a broad range of skills that faculty across the country feel are important components of critical thinking and real world problem solving.
  • All of the questions are derived from real world situations, most requiring short answer essay responses.
  • The CAT instrument is designed to engage faculty in the assessment and improvement of students' critical thinking.


Assessment and Faculty Development

Faculty are directly involved in the scoring process to help them understand student's strengths and weaknesses. Faculty can also use the CAT instrument as a model for constructing better course assessments using their own discipline content.

Applications of the CAT

Over 250 institutions across the country have used the CAT for course, program, and general education assessment. NSF support also helped establish the Center for Assessment & Improvement of Learning (CAIL) to distribute the CAT and provide training, consultation, and statistical support to users.

See the Narrated Video Below for an Overview of the CAT Instrument

Partial support for this work was provided by the National Science Foundation’s TUES (formerly CCLI) Program under grant 0404911, 0717654 and 1022789.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.