Wyn Davies, Global Head of Ability and Personality Assessments at Pearson TalentLens, introduces the area of critical thinking, the key 21st century skill.

Critical thinking is regarded as a key competency for all staff, with particular relevance to graduates and managers. With globalisation and the increased speed of business, employees at every level are facing a flow of information ever increasing in its intensity. Critical thinking is an individual’s ability to:

  1. Look at a situation
  2. Clearly understand it from multiple perspectives
  3. Separate facts from opinions and assumptions.

In the midst of this 4th Industrial Revolution we find ourselves in, work settings are changing rapidly, and employees are moving into new roles, often with limited direction. Employees can no longer rely on others to make key decisions. They often must make them on their own, and quickly. The decisions have to be good ones. Good decisions require focusing on the most relevant information, asking the right questions, and separating reliable facts from false assumptions; all elements of critical thinking.

CT is here to stay

The demand for critical thinking precipitated its introduction as AS and A level courses in a number of UK schools, whilst many prestigious universities and business schools around the world measure critical thinking ability levels in course applicants. The entrance exam for MBA courses has a section measuring CTA. All trainee barristers must sit a critical thinking exam in the UK.

The Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal is known as the global psychometric measure of an individual’s ability to think critically. It is available as a 30 minute online test or in print and is ideal for sifting out candidates at an early stage of both volume and specific recruitment. It is also used later in the process for verification purposes and for selecting in candidates. Adhering to the RED Model, it looks at an individual’s ability to

  1. Recognise assumptions
  2. Evaluate arguments
  3. Draw conclusions

Online version features:

Unsupervised / supervised. Large item bank. 40 items, timed (30 mins max). Wide range of norm groups / build bespoke norms. Reports available immediately via platform. Can be linked to Applicant Tracking Systems. Multiple report types, including development. Available in 7 languages.