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HCTA Halpern Critical Thinking Assessment

D. F. Halpern


Assesses critical thinking ability.
Critical thinking is a necessary skill in our achievement-oriented society. It is promoted by teachers and sought-after by employers. This includes skills such as analysis and evaluation of statements, decision-making and problem-solving ability. The Halpern Critical Thinking Assessment (HCTA) has been developed to cover the constructs most frequently cited in definitions of critical thinking. The test focuses on five dimensions of critical thinking: verbal reasoning, argument analysis, thinking as hypothesis testing, likelihood and uncertainty, and decision making and problem solving.
The HCTA scale is used to assess general constructs that define critical thinking. It is used to improve assessments in the field of education and training and to optimize recruitment and promotion processes in business and industry.


For each of the five dimensions of critical thinking there are five scenarios. For each dimension of critical thinking there is the same number of scenarios, but some dimensions are awarded more points than others; this is relevant to the calculation of the total number of points on the HCTA scale.

The respondent answers questions about everyday situations. He/She reads a brief description of a situation and then answers questions either freely (standard form) or in multiple-choice format. The questions relate to different aspects of the situation and measure various aspects of critical thinking, such as the respondent’s assessment of possible solutions to a problem or his/her analysis of various arguments.

Test forms

S1: Form A – standard version
S2: Form A – multiple-choice short version
S3: Form B – standard version
S4: Form B – multiple-choice short version


The following main variables are scored, depending on the test form:

  • S1:
    • Critical thinking: Global indicator of (indirect) critical thinking ability in everyday situations and conversations.
    • Critical thinking – recall: Global indicator of the active application of (indirect) critical thinking ability in everyday situations and conversations.
  • S1 and S2:
    • Critical thinking – recognition: Global indicator of the passive application of (indirect) critical thinking ability in everyday situations and conversations.

The scoring of S1 requires a special assessor who assesses the entered texts.

Scoring elements

Working time
Confidence interval
Profile analysis
Test protocol
Item analysis protocol
Progress chart
Special diagrammatic representation of results
Personalized Word report
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Test type

Special Ability Tests

Test information

language-free item material
parallel test form
conforms to the Rasch-model
additional device required
high level of test security
wide norm spectrum
test form available for online presentation - open mode
links to CogniPlus
supervisor-supported testing




S1/S3: approx. 45-80 minutes
S2/S4: approx. 15-25 minutes


Norms for ages 18+ (convenience sample).

Special features

Evaluation of the free texts by an assessor (S1/S3).