COVID-19 Reporting and Information • HEERF I & II

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. If have questions about an online CAT administration, please contact

Getting Started

The normal process to start using the CAT instrument typically begins with attending one of our regional training workshops. However, you may wish to consult with us first or schedule a web or phone conference to review the process with one of our staff. The overall process typically follows the model below.

Process for implementing the CAT


In order to better understand the CAT and associated materials, we require 2-3 representatives from each institution to attend one of our regional (or virtual) Train-the-Trainer workshops. These 2 day workshops focus on understand the scoring rubric associated with each question and the development of discipline-specific critical thinking assignments (CAT Apps). If you are interested in training a group of faculty at your institution, on-site workshops are available. Click here for more information about the workshops we offer and other services. 

Administration & Scoring

There are now two ways to administer the CAT using either our tried and true paper/pencil format or our new online format. Tests administered in the paper/pencil format are scored by faculty at your institution in scoring sessions. This scoring process allows for faculty to be directly exposed to students' strengths and weakness related to critical thinking. Faculty who score the CAT are likely to make changes in teaching pedagogy after only one scoring session (Haynes et al, 2016). Tests administered in the online format are scored using machine learning algorithms specifically formulated for each question. A sample of student responses from the online administration are provided for institutions to run a modified scoring session. This condensed scoring session allows institutions to devote more time to faculty development and CAT Apps. Contact us for pricing and help determining which format is best for you.

CAT App Development

CAT Apps are discipline-specific critical thinking assignments based on the framework of the original CAT instrument. These assignments allow faculty to assess not only content knowledge but also their student's ability to use content knowledge in a critical thinking/ real-world problem solving task. By focusing on content and critical thinking skills, students receive feedback not only on their depth of discipline knowledge but also practice and receive feedback on their ability to evaluate, think creatively, and solve problems within the discipline. By linking these assignments to program learning outcomes, CAT Apps become an additional tool to demonstrate student learning. 


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