WP 3: CPS Tests


January 2013 –

December 2014

Lead Partner:

University of Luxembourg


Lead Researcher:

Samuel Greiff


Understanding Complex Problem Solving.


The main objective is:

  • To prepare, apply and evaluate an instrument with which a particular type of skill - complex problem solving (CPS) - can be directly and easily assessed among adult populations


WP 3 is a precursor to all the remaining work packages and contributes to the objectives of the other WPs by providing the empirical data base.

Methods applied

This Work Package primarily applies the following methods:

  • a cross-sectional large scale assessment (LSA) with CPS scores from up to 3,650 individuals in 50-60 enterprises, across 15 European countries plus some international enterprises, across 5-6 competitive European industries
  • the data is assessed in 55 company on-site testings (including outside EU) and online testing
  • the CPS tests MicroDYN and MicroFIN are at the core of the assessment
  • in addition a general mental ability test is employed in the testing (SPM - Standard Progressive Matrices), as well as a background questionnaire (BQ)


Whereas the MicroDYN approach utilizes the formal framework of linear structural equations systems, the MicroFIN approach is based on finite state automata. Both tests contribute to an assessment of individual CPS performance in a psychometrically sound manner. The assessment tools are computer-based and run on the basis of multiple complex systems, i.e. they contain multiple short scenarios.

Interim results

Research related to this Work Package is still ongoing, but the interim results show that:

  • Interim Result 1 (Preparation of the CPS tests): A set of items is available for the implementation in software later to be deployed in the company context. Selection based on empirical results of pre-testing and heterogeneity of item functioning. Inclusion of MicroFIN items exceeds the requirements as outlined in the project plan.
  • Interim Result 2 (Application of the CPS tests): The assessment are ongoing and the CPS tests in use.
  • Interim Result 3 (Evaluation of the CPS tests): The evaluation is in progress.