Queen's Learning Outcomes Assessment

Learning Outcomes Project
Learning Outcomes Project

HEIghten™ Outcomes Assessment 

Developed by the Educational Testing Service, HEIghten™ is a standardized testing tool to demonstrate the validity of general education. The computer-delivered, modular assessment provides data that is both valid and reliable in showing the impact of learning in the classroom. 

HEIghten™ is a 45-minute online critical thinking test. The selected-response questions reflect real-world issues. There is a question bank comprising quantitative and qualitative themes, in the context of humanities, social sciences, natural science, or everyday life or business contexts. 

The results of the test help evaluation of cognitive skill development in a program across Queens University, and provide the opportunity to investigate the effectiveness of course-based assessment practices across the institution. 

The HEIghten™ assessment tests: 

Analytical Skills 

  • analyzing argument structure, 
  • evaluating argument structure, and 
  • evaluating evidence and its use

Synthetic Skills 

  • developing valid or sound arguments by selecting information that would constitute or contribute to such arguments for a given position; and
  • demonstrating understanding of the implications of information and argumentation by drawing or recognizing conclusions, extrapolating implications, or recognizing or generating explanations for phenomena that are described 

The test provides performance levels (advanced, proficient, or developing) for students' critical thinking skills. The students receive an individualized report on their performance showing their score compared to the average score of students who have taken the assessment, as well as whether their score is in the range of developing, proficient, or advanced critical thinking skills. 

Comparative variables are discussed in:

Simper, N., Frank, B., Kaupp, J., Mulligan, N., & Scott, J. (2018). Comparison of Standardized Assessment Methods: Logistics, Costs, Incentives and Use of Data. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, (ahead of print), 1–16.