Center for Assessment & Improvement of Learning

Attention: CAT and COVID-19
Given the current circumstances with COVID-19 and the closure of many campuses, we will be allowing the online administration of the CAT outside of a proctored setting. We will work with institutions to setup proctor accounts and specific blocks of time during which a student can log in and complete the CAT.

We are also offering online, virtual trainings to engage faculty in the evaluation of student performance on the CAT and the development of CAT Apps.

If have questions about an online CAT administration or virtual trainings, please contact

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).

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to assess a broad range of skills that faculty across the country feel are important components of critical thinking and real world problem solving.


to emulate real world problems. All questions derived from real world situations with most questions requiring short answer essay responses.


faculty in the assessment and improvement of student critical thinking skills and connects faculty to a teaching community.

CAT Assessment diagram

We encourage faculty involvement 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.

Active Learning

Over 350 institutions across the country have used the CAT for course, program, and general education assessment. NSF support also helped establish the Center for Assessment and Improvement of Learning to distribute the CAT and provide training, consultation, and statistical support to users.

View Our User Experiences  

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

The Critical Thinking Assessment Test was developed with support from the National Science Foundation TUES (CCLI) Division (under grants 0404911, 0717654, and 1022789 to Barry Stein, PI; Ada Haynes, Co-PI; & Michael Redding, Co-PI). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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