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Assess Higher-Order Thinking Skills in Your Classroom

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Eric Ferraro

on 28 October 2012

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Transcript of Assess Higher-Order Thinking Skills in Your Classroom

General Principles of Assessing Higher-Order Thinking

Basic Assessment Principles
Begin by specifying clearly and exactly the kind of thinking, about what content, you wish to see evidence for.

Design performance tasks or test items that require students to use the targeted thinking and content knowledge.
Decide what you will take as evidence that the student has exhibited this kind of thinking about appropriate content.Principles for Assessing Higher-Order Thinking
Put yourself in the position of a student attempting to answer a test question or do a performance assessment.

Asking “How would I think to answer this question or do this task?” will help figure out what thinking skills are required for an assessment task.
Use introductory material.
Use novel (foreign) material.

Manage cognitive complexity and difficulty separately. The level of difficulty (easy vs. hard) and level of thinking (recall vs. higher-order thinking) are two different qualities.Strategies for Giving Feedback or Scoring Tasks That Assess High-Order Thinking
Formative Assessment of Higher-Order Thinking. Observing and discussing student reasoning can be a powerful way to assess higher-order thinking.

Summative Assessment of Higher-Order Thinking.
A combination of multiple choice questions, constructed response, and essay questions, and analytical rubrics schemed together can serve as good performance indicators of higher-level thinking. In short, a good example would be as oftentimes used in math: solve the problem, but show all of your work on how you got the answer. Thinking
Skills How To Assess Higher Order Thinking Skills in Your Classroom Higher-
Order Introduction
Brookhart’s intentions are to help teachers assess the kind of complex thinking emphasized by current content standards and trends in curriculum through various disciplines.

Readers first examine the need for assessment, eventually moving towards the assessment of higher-order thinking. The remainder of the book (chapters 2 – 6) focuses on the different aspects of higher-order thinking emphasized in classroom learning and how to assess each aspect. In a sentence, the focus of the book is on assessment of higher-order thinking.

Assessment of higher-order thinking, however, assumes teaching of higher-order thinking. Brookhart breaks down higher-order thinking into five categories:
Analysis, evaluation, and creation
Logical reasoning
Judgment and critical thinking
Problem solving
Creativity and creative thinking Assessing Judgment
One type of higher-order thinking is “critical thinking” in the sense of wise judgment to a situation. We all hope that our students turn out to have the qualities of good judgment, prudence, and wisdom.

These qualities are also important in other aspects of life. Parents and teachers often express this reality when they talk about wanting their children or students to “make good choices.” Good judgment can be a very practical skill.

To assess students’ use of critical judgment, give them a scenario, a speech, an advertisement, or other source of information. Then ask them to make some sort of critical judgment.

The kinds of judgment we consider here include evaluating the credibility of a source of information, identifying assumptions implicit in that information, and identifying rhetorical and persuasive methods. by Susan M. Brookhart Assessing Logic and Reasoning
Young children learn reasoning as a part of life. These reasoning skills can be honed and developed in school.

As with other higher-order-thinking assessments, to assess reasoning you first have to give students something to reason about.

Supply introductory material for multiple-choice, short-answer, and essay questions. For longer performance assessments and projects, allow students access to resources they have already seen (books or textbooks they have read) or ask them to locate resources (finding information in a library or on the Internet). Then ask questions that require students to reason about the material. Assessing Problem Solving
Every subject has “problems” in that they have goals to be reached.

A good problem solver identifies exactly what the problem is, what might be obstacles to solving it, and what solutions might be expected to work.

A good problem solver tries at least one of the solutions. With more complex problems, a good problem solver can prioritize and evaluate the relative effectiveness of different solution strategies.

To assess whether students can solve problems involving the particular content and concepts you are teaching, present students with non-routine scenarios that require they accomplish one of the IDEAL tasks or use an indefinite combination of them.
Identify the problem.
Define and represent the problem.
Explore possible strategies.
Act on the strategies.
Look back and evaluate the effects of your activities. Assessing Creativity and Creative Thinking
Creativity is certainly something that teachers want to encourage in students. And yet, it is one of the most subjective, and more importantly, most poorly handled aspects of assessment.

Many teachers want their students to be creative, but are not entirely sure what to look for.
For some classroom projects, teachers allot points for creativity, but leave it undefined.
Too often, creativity hinges on the report cover, and how nicely colored it is.
Even worse, “creativity” winds up being the “fudge factor” in the grading.
The best way to stimulate creativity is to inspire it by making assignments that are creative.

To assess creative thinking, an assessment should do the following:
Require student production of some new ideas or a new product, or require students to reorganize existing ideas in some new way. Juxtaposing two different content areas or texts is one way to do this.

Allow student choice (which itself can be a “creation of an idea”) on matters related to the learning targets to be assessed, not tangential aspects of the assessment. If graded, evaluate student work against the criteria students were trying to reach, as well as conventional criteria for real work within the discipline. Conclusion
When students receive instruction in higher-order thinking skills, they perform better on a whole range of measures, from large, standardized tests to classroom tasks.

Students who are regularly and routinely challenged to think, and whose teachers assess higher-order thinking in a manner that yields useful information for both students and teachers, will learn to think well.

It takes intentional work to make these things happen in the classroom.
Think about thinking. How To Assess Higher Order Thinking Skills in Your Classroom

by Susan M. Brookhart


Presented by Eric Ferraro
EDE 8732 - Curriculum Development
Dr. Turnow Assessing Analysis, Evaluation, and Creation Analysis
To assess the quality of students’ thinking as they break down information into its part and reason with that information, questions or tasks must ask students to find or describe those parts and figure out how they are related.
Analysis-level questions present students with material then ask questions or presents problems whose answers require differentiating or organizing the parts on some reasonable manner.
Explaining reasoning used to relate the parts to one another is often part of the analysis task.

Analyze
Once an author’s main point, argument or thesis is identified, it can be further analyzed.
Identifying underlying assumptions, representing the logic or structure, finding irrelevancies, and judging the similarities or differences in two or more arguments are all analysis skills.

Evaluation
In assessing evaluation, we need items or tasks that can assess how students judge the value of materials and methods for their intended purposes.
The criteria for evaluating can be standard or student created.
To assess how well students can do evaluation, give them some material and ask them to judge its value for some purpose.
A good example of combining the two is “the two paragraph - fourth grade book report.” In paragraph one summarize the story and in paragraph two tell what was your favorite part of the book, and why.

Creation
To tell whether students can “create” in Bloom’s taxonomy, sense means assessing whether they can put unlike things together in a new way.
Present students with tasks that include generating multiple solutions, planning for goals, or producing something new. This creation is what is called “synthesis” in Bloom’s Taxonomy. General Principles of Assessing Higher-Order Thinking
Basic Assessment Principles
Begin by specifying clearly and exactly the kind of thinking, about what content, you wish to see evidence for.
Design performance tasks or test items that require students to use the targeted thinking and content knowledge.
Decide what you will take as evidence that the student has exhibited this kind of thinking about appropriate content.

Principles for Assessing Higher-Order Thinking
Put yourself in the position of a student attempting to answer a test question or do a performance assessment.
Asking “How would I think to answer this question or do this task?” will help figure out what thinking skills are required for an assessment task.

Use introductory material.
Use novel (foreign) material.

Manage cognitive complexity and difficulty separately. The level of difficulty (easy vs. hard) and level of thinking (recall vs. higher-order thinking) are two different qualities.

Strategies for Giving Feedback or Scoring Tasks That Assess High-Order Thinking
Formative Assessment of Higher-Order Thinking. Observing and discussing student reasoning can be a powerful way to assess higher-order thinking.

Summative Assessment of Higher-Order Thinking. A combination of multiple choice questions, constructed response, and essay questions, and analytical rubrics schemed together can serve as good performance indicators of higher-level thinking. In short, a good example would be as oftentimes used in math: solve the problem, but show all of your work on how you got the answer.
Full transcript