Assessing Systems Thinking Competencies – Development of a Measure

Peter T. Coleman and Nick Redding, Columbia University

systems thinkingWe are currently developing an assessment tool for measuring individual systems thinking ability. Inspired by the works of Donella Meadows and others, this measurement tool will present individuals with a series of written scenarios depicting a “systems archetype” process in a social system. Participants will be asked to review the scenario, and then respond to a series of multiple choice questions regarding what they believe led to the current maladaptive process, what factors contribute to the maintenance of the process, what would result from various hypothetical changes to the system, and how they would resolve the problem as a decision maker. Additionally, we are including survey measures of systems and holistic thinking attitudes to get a fuller picture of the relationship between systems thinking attitudes, mental models and outcomes. We plan to have a prototype ready in the near future, and will collect validation data in November and December 2015. We will also incorporate the prototype into an Advanced DST Intensive course that will take place in early 2016.

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