Regardless of major, all students at East Tennessee State University completing a bachelor’s degree are required to take the California Critical Thinking Skills Test before receiving their diploma. Students are eligible to register for the test as soon as they have completed 75 percent of their degree program.
The CCTST measures students on the following areas: analysis, inference, evaluation, induction and deduction. As its name implies, the purpose of the test is to evaluate students on their ability to think critically.
Leigh Lewis, the assistant director of assessment at ETSU, said critical thinking is one of the most sought after skills employers seek in future employees. Not only are employers interested in a student’s critical thinking skills, but graduate programs are as well.
“I have heard of graduate programs requesting scores from this test if they know their university requires students to take it,” she said.
The CCTST important to students and to the university. If students score above the national average, the university can receive money from the state in the form of grants.
“The test is worth 15 of the 200 points associated with quality assurance funding … which adds up to roughly $600,000 per year if we get the full 15 points,” Lewis said. “The more money we get from the state, the less money students have to pay in tuition to cover the costs to operate the university.”
The university can also use the scores from this test to make degree programs for the university better.
“Degree programs can use the results to alter the way they teach to help students build better critical thinking skills,” Lewis said. “Critical thinking skills are very important in the work place and can allow students to be more successful when they get out into the workforce.”
It is also worth noting the CCTST isn’t the only senior exit exam some students have to take, as certain departments require their own major field tests.
For students graduating this semester, the departments that include an additional senior exit exam include: biology (except biochemistry concentration), communication studies, criminal justice, English, history, foreign languages, history, media and communication, physical education, psychology, sociology, sports & leisure management and theatre.
For more information, students should check with their academic advisor.