California Measure of Mental Motivation (CM3)

General Information on the Measure
Purpose of the measure

The California Measure of Mental Motivation (CM3) measures cognitive engagement and motivation toward problem solving and learning.

Main constructs measured

Cognitive competencies

Applicable grade levels

Grades K-12+

Publication year for the most recent version

No information is available in the references reviewed.

Year originally developed


Related measures
Measure Administration


Method of administration

Paper/Pencil, Digital

Number of items

Approximately 25 items

Item format

Likert-type scale

Administration time

Approximately 20 minutes

Available languages

English, Chinese (traditional), Spanish, Arabic, Greek

Fee for use Fee charged by developer
Credentials required for administration


Overall score reporting

An overall thinking ability score is reported.

Subscore reporting

Levels IA and IB contain four subscale scores:

  • Mental focus
  • Learning orientation
  • Creative problem solving
  • Cognitive integrity

Level II+ contains all of the Level IA/B subscales plus one additional subscale:

  • Scholarly rigor

Level III contains one additional subscale:

  • Technical orientation
Scoring procedures

A scoring manual and software are provided by the assessment developers.

Interpretive information

Norm-referenced percentile rankings are available in the score reports, as are interpretations of the strength of the overall score and subscale scores. The test manual (available for purchase) includes additional information about score interpretation.

Evidence of Technical Quality
Populations for which technical quality evidence has been collected

Four different samples were used at different stages of the instrument development process: a nationwide (U.S.) convenience sample of 1,378 students in grades 6-12; approximately 500 high schoolers from northern California; 587 private school students (all female) from Missouri; 1,008 high schoolers from a single school district in northern California (Giancarlo, Blohm, & Urdan, 2004).

Reliability evidence

Cronbach's alpha coefficient for the four subscales of the 25-item version CM3 ranged from 0.53 to 0.83 (Giancarlo, Blohm, & Urdan, 2004).

Validity evidence
Evidence based on content.
Items were adapted from the Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory or developed based on the definition of “critical thinker” developed in prior studies and relevant theory (Giancarlo, Blohm, & Urdan, 2004).
Evidence based on response processes
No information available in the references reviewed.
Evidence based on internal structure.
Results of confirmatory factor analysis supported the conclusion that the 25-item CM3 measured four distinct constructs (Mental focus, learning orientation, creative problem solving and cognitive integrity) (Giancarlo, Blohm, & Urdan, 2004).
Evidence based on relations with other variables.
Scores on four subscales of CM3 showed significant positive correlations with measures of mastery goals, self-efficacy, and self-regulation, with the correlation coefficients ranging from 0.09 to 0.67 (Giancarlo, Blohm, & Urdan, 2004). The correlation between CM3 subscale scores and the SAT and PSAT scores ranged from 0.09 to 0.43.
Locating the Measure
Obtaining a copy of the measure

Giancarlo, C. A., Blohm, S. W., & Urdan, T. , "Assessing secondary students’ disposition toward critical thinking: Development of the California Measure of Mental Motivation," Educational and Psychological Measurement, 64, 2, 2004, pp. 347–364.


Measure summary updated October 3, 2018.