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Test of Problem Solving 2: Adolescent (TOPS-2:A)

  • Ages: 12-0 through 17-11
  • Testing Time: 40 minutes

While other tests may assess thinking skills by tapping mathematical, spatial, or nonverbal potential, the TOPS 2: Adolescent assesses critical thinking abilities based on the student's language strategies using logic and experience.
The TOPS 2: Adolescent 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: Adolescent emphasizes the integrative disposition of critical thinking by focusing on these cognitive processes:

  • understanding/comprehension
  • analysis
  • interpretation
  • self-regulation
  • evaluation
  • explanation
  • inference/insight
  • decision-making
  • intent/purpose
  • problem solving
  • acknowledgment


The test is comprised of five subtests (18 written passages) that assess a student's performance of these skills. 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 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 in order to make a conclusion.
  • Subtest E: Transferring Insights — The student is asked to compare analogous situations by using information stated in the passage.

COMPLETE TEST INCLUDES: Examiner's Manual, Reading Passages Book, and 20 Test Forms.

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