Questions on the HCTA represent five categories of CT application: hypothesis testing (e.g. The California critical thinking skills test (CCTST): Forms A and B; The CCTST test manual. understanding the limits of correlational reasoning and how to know when causal claims cannot be made), verbal reasoning (e.g. Most definitions, though worded differently, tend to agree with this perspective – it consists of certain dispositions, specific skills and a reflective sensibility that governs application of these skills.
recognising the use of pervasive or misleading language), argumentation (e.g.
recognising the structure of arguments, how to examine the credibility of a source and how to judge one’s own arguments), judging likelihood and uncertainty (e.g.
applying relevant principles of probability, how to avoid overconfidence in certain situations) and problem-solving (e.g.
identifying the problem goal, generating and selecting solutions among alternatives).
There are various extant CT measures – the most popular amongst them include the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Assessment (WGCTA; Watson & Glaser, 1980), the Cornell Critical Thinking Test (CCTT; Ennis, Millman & Tomko, 1985), the California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST; Facione, 1990a), the Ennis-Weir Critical Thinking Essay Test (EWCTET; Ennis & Weir, 1985) and the Halpern Critical Thinking Assessment (Halpern, 2010). Critical thinking ability and disposition as factors of performance on a written critical thinking test.
It has been noted by some commentators that these different measures of CT ability may not be directly comparable (Abrami et al., 2008).
The multi-part nature of the questions makes it possible to assess the ability to use specific CT skills when the prompt is provided (Ku, 2009).
The HCTA’s scoring protocol also provides comprehensible, unambiguous instructions for how to evaluate responses by breaking them down into clear, measurable components.
Furthermore, as argued by Halpern (2003), the MCQ format makes the assessment a test of verbal and quantitative knowledge rather than CT (i.e.
because one selects from a list of possible answers rather than determining one’s own criteria for developing an answer).