Instruments for assessing reasoning skills in higher education: a scoping review

Kirsi Talman, Jonna Vierula, Anne-Maria Kanerva, Outi Virkki, Jaana-Maija Koivisto, Elina Haavisto

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Reasoning skills are needed in the future work life. As such, it is important that reasoning skills be assessed in higher education, both in the selection phase and during education. This study aims to describe the instruments that are used to assess reasoning skills in higher education. The ultimate goal is to provide information upon which student selection methods may be developed. A computerised search was performed among nine databases, and seventeen articles were included. As a result, seven generic instruments that measure reasoning skills were identified. None of the included studies reported an assessment of reasoning skills during the student selection phase. The content of the reasoning skills’ instruments focused on four categories: information processing, analysing, drawing conclusions and argumentation. None of the seven instruments addressed all four categories identified, although a few addressed three categories. To conclude, a comprehensive assessment of reasoning skills including the four identified categories is recommended in the higher education context. Further research is needed to assess the use of reasoning skills and relevant instruments for high stake purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-392
Number of pages17
Issue number3
Early online date24 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • reasoning skills
  • higher education

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1


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