The TOPS-2:A uses a natural context of problem-solving situations related to adolescent experiences and assesses five different decision-making skill areas critical to academic, problem-solving, and social success. Based on the research of Richard Paul, the TOPS-2:A emphasizes the integrative disposition of critical thinking by focusing on these cognitive processes:
- Decision making
- Problem solving
The TOPS-2:A is comprised of five subtests (18 written passages) that assess a student’s performance in five decision-making skill areas. The subtests require the student to pay careful attention to, process, and think about what they hear and read; think about problems with a purpose in mind; resist the urge to be impulsive; and express answers verbally.
- Subtest A: Making Inferences — The student is asked to give a logical explanation about a situation, combining what he or she knows or can see with previous experience/background information. Students who do well on this subtest make plausible inferences, predictions, or interpretations.
- Subtest B: Determining Solutions — The student is asked to provide a logical solution for some aspect of a situation presented in a passage.
- Subtest C: Problem Solving — This subtest requires a student to recognize the problem, think of alternative solutions, evaluate the options, and state an appropriate solution for a given situation. It also includes stating how to avoid specific problems.
- Subtest D: Interpreting Perspectives — A student who does well on this subtest will evaluate other points of view to make a conclusion.
- Subtest E: Transferring Insights — The student is asked to compare analogous situations by using information stated in the passage.