The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

CCTST Information


What is the CCTST?

The California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST) is a 45 minute, 34-item, multiple choice test that evaluates one's ability to analyze, infer, explain, evaluate, and interpret information.

Why are seniors at UT taking CCTST?

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) in Nashville coordinates a state-mandated Performance Funding program. This accountability program measures and rewards UT as well as other publicly funded institutions across Tennessee. The state monitors student education to ensure students are learning the basic skills necessary to make them fully participating citizens in Tennessee and the world. This standard, in which all public institutions in the state must participate, is called "Foundation Testing of General Education."

How does CCTST impact students?

As public estimations of UT's value as an academic institution increase with high student performance, so does the intrinsic worth of your UT degree. Research shows that there will be a positive effect on student career opportunities, such as graduating student entry-level salaries. Scores and information on local and national norms are sent to students upon request.

How does CCTST help UT faculty and staff?

Results will be sent to all of the colleges and participating departments. Faculty and administrators will review and discuss the test scores and work to make adjustments in the general education offerings at UT as necessary. The test will help UT as it strives to be a stronger institution that constantly improves its national and international reputation.

What reward does UT get for this test?

Depending on student performance, UT can earn up to $j1,250,000 each year to help meet its general operating expenses. Public education in Tennessee has not been fully funded for several years, making these funds extremely important to the campus.

Who chooses the students to be tested?

Each department is responsible for identifying the seniors who will be tested. Typically, the students are those enrolled in upper level courses within the selected department.

Who chooses the proctors?

Each department chooses who will administer the tests. In the past, proctors have been department heads, predetermined faculty members, or the instructor of a specific course and section.

How does scheduling a CCTST session work?

1. Prior to the start of each semester, all colleges are contacted in order to register for CCTST.
2. The college or department coordinator contacts staff and faculty to determine the course(s) and date(s) in which CCTST will be administered. Communication is essential to the success of the testing process. Because faculty provide syllabi to students at the beginning of the semester, faculty included in the semester's testing should be consulted when deciding upon a testing date.
3. At least 2 weeks prior to the test date, the college or department coordinator completes a registration form* and submits it to OIRA.

What should I do when testing is completed?

Upon completion of the test, all materials (used and unused) should be returned to OIRA at 2538 Dunford Hall via one of the following options: (1) personal delivery to our office by you or a trusted student or (2) campus mail delivery [note: you must photocopy the answer sheets prior to mailing to serve as a back-up in case anything should happen en route.

Where can I obtain more information about the CCTST or the Performance Funding Program?

Contact the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, 2538 Dunford Hall, 974-4373,


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The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System