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81 Great Higher-Order Thinking Questions

To boost student standardized test scores and stimulate critical thinking, incorporate higher-order thinking questions into your lessons. 

Higher-order thinking questions are questions that require students to apply, analyze, and evaluate information rather than simply recall it.

Students must think beyond the literal in order to make connections and subsequently meaning of what they are reading, writing, or discussing.

These types of questions prompt higher-level thinking from students, encouraging them to consider alternative explanations and points of view. 

If you’re ready to encourage more higher-order thinking in your classroom, you will find this list of higher-order thinking question stems helpful. 

Higher-Order Thinking Questions

Here you will find examples of higher and lower order question examples that may be used with any subject or topic.

These H.O.T.S questions encourage higher-order thinking skills.

These types of higher-order thinking questions entail recalling information. Answers are most likely directly stated.

These questions require that students summarize, infer, explain, interpret, and/or show an understanding of facts. 

Related Content:

101 Higher Order Thinking Questions for Reading Comprehension 101 Higher Order Thinking Questions for Math

Students apply prior or new knowledge to a situation. 

Students sort, classify, differentiate, compare, and/or organize complex ideas.

These questions prompt students to justify or critique a position.

Students consider different viewpoints and generate new ideas.

Final Thoughts On Higher-Order Thinking Questions In the Classroom

Use these examples of higher-order thinking questions as is or generate your own questions for students.

Their critical thinking skills will improve, and they’ll be able to problem-solve with much more confidence.

Related: Higher-Order Thinking Questions PDF

Learning Center

Higher Order Thinking: Bloom’s Taxonomy

Many students start college using the study strategies they used in high school, which is understandable—the strategies worked in the past, so why wouldn’t they work now? As you may have already figured out, college is different. Classes may be more rigorous (yet may seem less structured), your reading load may be heavier, and your professors may be less accessible. For these reasons and others, you’ll likely find that your old study habits aren’t as effective as they used to be. Part of the reason for this is that you may not be approaching the material in the same way as your professors. In this handout, we provide information on Bloom’s Taxonomy—a way of thinking about your schoolwork that can change the way you study and learn to better align with how your professors think (and how they grade).

Why higher order thinking leads to effective study

Most students report that high school was largely about remembering and understanding large amounts of content and then demonstrating this comprehension periodically on tests and exams. Bloom’s Taxonomy is a framework that starts with these two levels of thinking as important bases for pushing our brains to five other higher order levels of thinking—helping us move beyond remembering and recalling information and move deeper into application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and creation—the levels of thinking that your professors have in mind when they are designing exams and paper assignments. Because it is in these higher levels of thinking that our brains truly and deeply learn information, it’s important that you integrate higher order thinking into your study habits.

The following categories can help you assess your comprehension of readings, lecture notes, and other course materials. By creating and answering questions from a variety of categories, you can better anticipate and prepare for all types of exam questions. As you learn and study, start by asking yourself questions and using study methods from the level of remembering. Then, move progressively through the levels to push your understanding deeper—making your studying more meaningful and improving your long-term retention.

Level 1: Remember

This level helps us recall foundational or factual information: names, dates, formulas, definitions, components, or methods.

Level 2: Understand

Understanding means that we can explain main ideas and concepts and make meaning by interpreting, classifying, summarizing, inferring, comparing, and explaining.

Level 3: Apply

Application allows us to recognize or use concepts in real-world situations and to address when, where, or how to employ methods and ideas.

Level 4: Analyze

Analysis means breaking a topic or idea into components or examining a subject from different perspectives. It helps us see how the “whole” is created from the “parts.” It’s easy to miss the big picture by getting stuck at a lower level of thinking and simply remembering individual facts without seeing how they are connected. Analysis helps reveal the connections between facts.

Level 5: Synthesize

Synthesizing means considering individual elements together for the purpose of drawing conclusions, identifying themes, or determining common elements. Here you want to shift from “parts” to “whole.”

Level 6: Evaluate

Evaluating means making judgments about something based on criteria and standards. This requires checking and critiquing an argument or concept to form an opinion about its value. Often there is not a clear or correct answer to this type of question. Rather, it’s about making a judgment and supporting it with reasons and evidence.

Level 7: Create

Creating involves putting elements together to form a coherent or functional whole. Creating includes reorganizing elements into a new pattern or structure through planning. This is the highest and most advanced level of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Pairing Bloom’s Taxonomy with other effective study strategies

While higher order thinking is an excellent way to approach learning new information and studying, you should pair it with other effective study strategies. Check out some of these links to read up on other tools and strategies you can try:

Other UNC resources

If you’d like some individual assistance using higher order questions (or with anything regarding your academic success), check out some of your UNC resources:

Works consulted

Anderson, L. W., Krathwohl, D.R., Airasian, P.W., Cruikshank, K.A., Mayer, R.E., Pintrich, P.R., Wittrock, M.C (2001). A taxonomy of learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. New York, NY: Longman.

“Bloom’s Taxonomy.” University of Waterloo. Retrieved from https://uwaterloo.ca/centre-for-teaching-excellence/teaching-resources/teaching-tips/planning-courses-and-assignments/course-design/blooms-taxonomy

“Bloom’s Taxonomy.” Retrieved from http://www.bloomstaxonomy.org/Blooms%20Taxonomy%20questions.pdf

Overbaugh, R., and Schultz, L. (n.d.). “Image of two versions of Bloom’s Taxonomy.” Norfolk, VA: Old Dominion University. Retrieved from https://www.odu.edu/content/dam/odu/col-dept/teaching-learning/docs/blooms-taxonomy-handout.pdf

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After reading The Diary of Anne Frank , a student is asked, “ Who is Anne Frank ?” To answer the question, the student simply recalls the information he or she memorized from the reading.   With the implementation of Common Core, students are expected to become critical thinkers instead of just recalling facts and ideas from text. In order for students to reach this potential and be prepared for success, educators must engage students during instruction by asking higher-order questions.  

Higher-order Questions (HOQ)

Higher-order questions are those that the students cannot answer just by simple recollection or by reading the information “ verbatim ” from the text. Higher-order questions put advanced cognitive demand on students. They encourage students to think beyond literal questions.   Higher-order questions promote critical thinking skills because these types of questions expect students to apply, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information instead of simply recalling facts. For instance, application questions require students to transfer knowledge learned in one context to another; analysis questions expect students to break the whole into component parts such as analyze mood, setting, characters, express opinions, make inferences, and draw conclusions; synthesis questions have students use old ideas to create new ones using information from a variety of sources; and evaluation questions require students to make judgments, explain reasons for judgments, compare and contrast information, and develop reasoning using evidence from the text.  

Higher-order Questions Research

According to research, teachers who effectively use a variety of higher-order questions can overcome the brain’s natural tendency to develop mental routines and patterns to limit information, which is called neural pruning . As a result, student’s brains may become more open-minded, which strengthens the brain.   According to an article in Educational Leadership (March 1997), researchers Thomas Cardellichio and Wendy Field discovered that higher-order questions increase neural branching , the opposite of neural pruning. In addition, these researchers found that teachers can promote the process of neural branching through seven types of questions.  

The researchers concluded that this type of questioning can lead to better critical thinking skills. “ They can analyze, synthesize, evaluate, and interpret the text they are reading at complex levels. They can process text at deep levels, make judgments, and detect shades of meaning. They can make critical interpretations and demonstrate high levels of insight and sophistication in their thinking. They are able to make inferences, draw relevant and insightful conclusions, use their knowledge in new situations, and relate their thinking to other situations and to their own background knowledge. These students fare well on standardized tests and are considered to be advanced. They will indeed be prepared to function as outstanding workers and contributors in a fast-paced workplace where the emphasis is on using information rather than just knowing facts .”  

Higher-order Questions and Explicit Direct Instruction

The Explicit Direct Instruction (EDI) model incorporates a variety of higher-order questions in order to encourage and increase critical thinking skills.   The LEARNING OBJECTIVE component in EDI is the only question that is at a low level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. The reason for this is because the content during this portion of the lesson is not at a high level. Also, the students have not been taught the high-level content. Typically, the question asked to students is “ What are we doing today ? or What is our Learning Objective ?”   The CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT component includes a variety of higher-order concept-related questions because the content is at a high level. Here is a list of higher-order questions that are asked during this EDI component:  

  The SKILL DEVELOPMENT component asks higher-level thinking-process questions after modeling the skill.

  The GUIDED PRACTICE asks higher-level process questions that require the students to show their thought process when performing the skill.  

The RELEVANCE component includes higher-level evaluation questions.

The CLOSURE component includes high-level questions such as:

If higher-order questions promote critical thinking skills, as research shows, then higher-order questions should be included throughout instruction. The EDI model offers a good way to do just that!  

  Educational Leadership, Seven Strategies That Encourage Neural Branching , March 1997  

How do you incorporate higher-order questions during instruction? Please share your experiences in the comment section below.

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Author:  Patricia Bogdanovich

Patricia has held various positions with DataWORKS since 2002. She currently works as a Curriculum Specialist. Patricia helped develop and create many of the early resources and workshops designed by DataWORKS, and she is an expert in analysis of standards. Patricia plans to blog about curriculum and assessments for CCSS and NGSS, classroom strategies, and news and research from the world of education.

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Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

Critical thinking is a higher-order thinking skill. Higher-order thinking skills go beyond basic observation of facts and memorization. They are what we are talking about when we want our students to be evaluative, creative and innovative.

When most people think of critical thinking, they think that their words (or the words of others) are supposed to get “criticized” and torn apart in argument, when in fact all it means is that they are criteria-based. These criteria require that we distinguish fact from fiction; synthesize and evaluate information; and clearly communicate, solve problems and discover truths.

Why is Critical Thinking important in teaching?

According to Paul and Elder (2007), “Much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed or down-right prejudiced.  Yet the quality of our life and that of which we produce, make, or build depends precisely on the quality of our thought.”  Critical thinking is therefore the foundation of a strong education.

higher order thinking skills questions by

Using Bloom’s Taxonomy of thinking skills, the goal is to move students from lower- to higher-order thinking:

This provides students with the skills and motivation to become innovative producers of goods, services, and ideas.  This does not have to be a linear process but can move back and forth, and skip steps.

How do I incorporate critical thinking into my course?

The place to begin, and most obvious space to embed critical thinking in a syllabus, is with student-learning objectives/outcomes.  A well-designed course aligns everything else—all the activities, assignments, and assessments—with those core learning outcomes.

higher order thinking skills questions by

Learning outcomes contain an action (verb) and an object (noun), and often start with, “Student’s will....” Bloom’s taxonomy can help you to choose appropriate verbs to clearly state what you want students to exit the course doing, and at what level.

Both of the above examples are about the water cycle and both require the foundational knowledge that form the “facts” of what makes up the water cycle, but the second objective goes beyond facts to an actual understanding, application and evaluation of the water cycle.

Using a tool such as Bloom’s Taxonomy to set learning outcomes helps to prevent vague, non-evaluative expectations. It forces us to think about what we mean when we say, “Students will learn…”  What is learning; how do we know they are learning?

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The Best Resources For Helping Teachers Use Bloom’s Taxonomy In The Classroom by Larry Ferlazzo

Consider designing class activities, assignments, and assessments—as well as student-learning outcomes—using Bloom’s Taxonomy as a guide.

The Socratic style of questioning encourages critical thinking.  Socratic questioning  “is systematic method of disciplined questioning that can be used to explore complex ideas, to get to the truth of things, to open up issues and problems, to uncover assumptions, to analyze concepts, to distinguish what we know from what we don’t know, and to follow out logical implications of thought” (Paul and Elder 2007).

Socratic questioning is most frequently employed in the form of scheduled discussions about assigned material, but it can be used on a daily basis by incorporating the questioning process into your daily interactions with students.

In teaching, Paul and Elder (2007) give at least two fundamental purposes to Socratic questioning:

How do I assess the development of critical thinking in my students?

If the course is carefully designed around student-learning outcomes, and some of those outcomes have a strong critical-thinking component, then final assessment of your students’ success at achieving the outcomes will be evidence of their ability to think critically.  Thus, a multiple-choice exam might suffice to assess lower-order levels of “knowing,” while a project or demonstration might be required to evaluate synthesis of knowledge or creation of new understanding.

Critical thinking is not an “add on,” but an integral part of a course.

Additional Resources

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Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS)

higher order thinking skills questions by

These are the Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) which need teachers to practice them as well while teaching. Content is the bedrock on which teachers can help students to develop these skills. As students move from Lower Order Thinking skills (LOTS) to HOTS, they start focussing on these very important skills.

Some interesting activities that provide focus on these ‘21st century skills’ to my students are:

Draw pictures to show a particular event / make a colouring book: This activity is for a very creative mind and a very good technique for students to remember an important event in the text.

Make up a puzzle or a game about the topic of study: The sky is the limit for this activity as students can create vocabulary games or quizzes about quotes / characters, points of interest. This activity also takes care of collaboration as it works best with groups.

‘Gamification’ can enhance and bring out creativity as well as critical thinking skills.

Write a biography of any one of the characters: Writing a biography needs an in depth analysis of characters. This can also be taken up as a follow up activity of ‘interview with ------------- (character)’.

Dramatise the content: One of the best collaborative activities, dramatisation brings out the best from all the students involved as everyone has something to contribute.

Conduct a debate about an issue of special interest: Debating is a skill which needs a critical analysis of the issue. It also brings out the best reasoning abilities of students.

Write a different ending to the story /play: This activity would bring out the critical thinking and creative skills of students, the teacher may ask the students to justify the ending that they have thought of for the particular story / play.

Make an acrostic: https://www.youngwriters.co.uk/types-acrostic - This site gives different types of acrostics.

A few questions to make students think creatively and critically are:

1. What do you think could have happened next?

2. Do you know of another instance where...?

3. What would you change in the story?

4. From the information given, develop a set of instructions about ...?

5. What do you see as possible outcomes? Why?

6. Why did ..... changes occur?

7. What was the turning point? Why?

8. What was the problem with...?

9. How would you have handled...?

10. What are the pros and cons of ...?

11. If you had access to all resources, how would you deal with...?

12. What are the alternatives?

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There is no end or limit to being creative in enhancing these skills that our students need to be competent in. Today’s teachers have endless resources and have online forums where they are able to collaborate with their colleagues from all over the globe. Best practices can be picked up and /or can be moulded to suit the needs of their students.

Disclaimer: All content written for our magazine is produced independently by teachers working in the English language teaching profession around the world. The views and opinions expressed in the content produced by these writers does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the British Council.

Research and insight

We have hundreds of case studies, research papers, publications and resource books written by researchers and experts in ELT from around the world. 

See our publications, research and insight

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Innovative Teaching Ideas

Higher order thinking skills for students and teachers.


What Is Higher Order Thinking?

In days gone by, rote learning was where it was at.

Latin ? Learn your grammar off by heart.

Mathematics ? Learn your times tables until the answer to 12 times 9 is nothing more than a reflex-like that reflex-thing when the doctor hits your knee with a tiny hammer.

Now, there’s no doubt about it, rote learning has its place. If you want to commit important dates to memory, then rote learning is one truly effective method.

But, what if you want to do more than commit facts and figures to memory? What if the question isn’t when did the First World War start, but, instead, why did the First World War start?

Questions like these require us to think in a different way than those questions that can be answered by simply regurgitating information we have committed to memory.

When questions demand of us that we engage creatively, respond innovatively, or to evaluate, then we need to engage in higher-order thinking.

When we talk about higher-order thinking we are referring to thinking skills that go beyond the mere memorization of facts and figures. This type of thinking makes more demands on our cognitive processing capabilities than other types of thinking.

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Why Are Higher Order Thinking Skills Important for Our Students?

Higher-order thinking skills are much more difficult to teach than the lower order skills, but they are all the more important for that.

Aside from the fact that questions that make demands of students’ higher-order thinking skills are weighted more heavily in exams, there are several reasons why students need to learn and practice them in the classroom.

Higher order thinking:

Enables a greater appreciation of art and literature, enriching our enjoyment and experience of life

Promotes essential skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving

Are highly in demand by employers and projected to be increasingly in demand in the future

Involves transferable skills that can be essential in a wide variety of contexts.

How Do I Teach Higher Order Thinking In My Classroom?

As we’ve mentioned already, higher order thinking makes greater cognitive processing demands and this type of thinking can be, unsurprisingly, more difficult to both learn and teach.

In the strategies below, you’ll find a mix of concepts and activities that can be combined and adapted to help encourage higher order thinking in your classroom.

The Relevance of Bloom’s Taxonomy

One of the keys here lies in asking questions that require students to engage in higher order thinking in order to answer them.

The types of questions that demand higher order thinking of our students can helpfully be illustrated with reference to Bloom’s taxonomy.

In this well-known classification system and hierarchical organization of thinking types, the lower order thinking types such as Remember, Understand, and Apply require less cognitive processing than the higher order types such as Analyze, Evaluate, and Create.

Bloom’s taxonomy classifies learning objectives by complexity and is therefore a helpful means to identify higher order questions.

According to Bloom’s, there are 6 levels of learning objectives: remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, and create.

The first 3 of these are considered to employ lower level thinking, while the last 3 are classified as higher order thinking.

If we are composing questions for our students that challenge students at levels 4, 5, and 6 (analyze, evaluate, create), then our students will need to engage in higher order thinking to answer.

Now, let’s take a look at how we can use each of the 3 higher levels in Bloom’s taxonomy to generate questions that will encourage higher order thinking in our students.

Higher Order Thinking Questions 

We’ll take a look at each of the 3 higher order levels in turn.

First, we’ll briefly define each of the terms. Then, we’ll list some of the keywords that can be used to form instructions for a higher order thinking task. And, finally, we’ll offer some useful question starters, or prompts, to encourage higher order thinking at this level.

1. Analyze - Exploring connections and relationships by breaking things into parts

Keywords: Analyze, Categorize, Classify, Compare, Contrast, Discover, Divide, Examine, Group, Inspect, Sequence, Simplify.

Question Starters:

Why did x happen?

What is the relationship between x and y ?

What were the advantages of x ?

What were the disadvantages of x ?

What was the turning point?

What were the causes of x ?

What were the effects of x ?

2. Evaluate - Defending or justifying our opinions and beliefs

Keywords: Assess, Choose, Determine, Evaluate, Justify, Compare, Rate, Recommend, Select, Agree, Appraise, Prioritize, Support, Prove, Disprove.

Why was it important that…?

Do you think x was a good thing?

Do you agree/disagree that…?

What was the writer’s viewpoint on x ?

What is your opinion on x ?

What is the best solution to the problem of x ?

3. Create - Generating new ideas and alternatives

Keywords: Change, Construct, Design, Develop, Imagine, Improve, Invent, Formulate, Plan, Produce, Predict, Propose, Modify, Solve.

How would you improve x ?

What changes would you make to x ?

How do you think x would feel?

What outcome do you predict?

Can you think of another suitable title for x ?

How would you end this?

The Socratic Method

The origins of this classic teaching technique stretch right back to the wily old ancient Greek himself. Socrates’ strategy for higher order thinking and critical inquiry involved a process of thoughtful questioning and discussion. This practice effectively engages the student’s analytical and critical faculties.

The Socratic questioning process demands that, rather than the teacher feeding the student information directly, they should employ a series of questions that develops the student’s understanding and their awareness of the limits of their own knowledge.

The questions asked should be open-ended in nature. This is because their purpose is to facilitate collaborative dialogues and discussions intended to enhance learning through reasoning and analysis. This is not meant to be a competition of ideas, but an exploration focused on arriving at the most rational understanding of the ideas and content as possible.

Two particularly useful strategies that encourage the Socratic method in the classroom are Socratic Circles and Socratic Seminars .

Let’s take a look at each of these in turn:

Socratic Circles

A highly effective means of promoting collaborative learning, Socractic circles encourage students to explore and analyze different perspectives and interpretations on a given topic.

Here’s how this strategy works in practice:

1. First, group students in two concentric circles. There should be an inner circle and an outer circle.

2. Then, instruct the students of the inner circle to read, analyze, and discuss the assigned reading material. A time frame should be set for this task e.g. 10 minutes.

3. As the inner circle engages in their discussion of the material, the outer circle is tasked to stay silent and observe the inner circle’s dialogues.

4. When the allotted time is up, the outer circle is given 10 minutes (or other suitable amount of time) to evaluate the inner circle’s discussions, giving feedback and comments as the inner circle listens.

5. When the feedback session has been completed, the inner and outer circles now switch positions and the exercise is repeated with the groups’ roles reversed.

Socratic Seminars

In a Socratic seminar, the teacher facilitates a group discussion focused around a specific learning goal.

Questions should be designed to help students evaluate their own opinions on the subject and should be aimed at stimulating a deeper understanding of the material.

To ensure fair participation, teachers should establish clear guidelines for the group interaction. This will help keep discussions on track and avoid straying off task or the degeneration of the discussion into personal attacks, or other irrational exchanges.

To help ensure the optimal interactions, teachers should try to demonstrate good models of thinking and interaction at all times.

The Socratic seminar will provide students with opportunities to critically analyze and explore their underlying assumptions and beliefs and then go beyond them.

Conceptual Thinking

Encouraging students to think conceptually is to encourage them to make links between different aspects of their learning.

Rather than seeing and learning various ‘facts’ in isolation, thinking in terms of concepts gets students to organize their thinking by the clustering of ideas around a singular, central idea.

For example, we can categorize boxing, gymnastics, soccer, tennis, cycling, and basketball simply as sports.

We can also further enhance our understanding of these sports by recognizing that while boxing, tennis, cycling, and gymnastics are individual sports, soccer and basketball are team sports.

By organizing our thinking in such a manner, we create a mental representation of things that belong together and things that don’t. We see commonalities and differences where none were immediately apparent.

Encourage conceptual thinking in the classroom by asking students to identify similarities and differences between things. You can usefully record their suggestions using line diagrams to display various connections between things. This encourages a more nuanced approach to categorization and can be applied across wide areas of knowledge.

When we want students to infer something from limited evidence, we’ll routinely ask them to ‘read between the lines.’

Giving our students opportunities to practice inference in the classroom is important as we are not always fortunate enough to have all the evidence to hand before we make a judgment.

Setting our students tasks that ask them to infer something encourages them to engage in close reading of the content, and to engage and evaluate that content at a deeper level than a cursory read would allow.

Creative Thinking

Creativity relates to originality and flexibility of thinking. It is a difficult skill to master and it’s no surprise that it is represented as the highest level of thinking in Bloom's taxonomy, where it is sometimes termed ‘synthesis’.

Not only is creativity one of the most difficult skills to master, it’s one of the most difficult things to teach too.

But, there are some things you can do to encourage your students to think creatively in the classroom. Primary among these things is creating a classroom culture that celebrates originality and an environment that encourages experimentation.

At its essence, creativity is a form of divergent thinking that is impossible without some willingness to stray from the more well-worn and inviting paths of thought. It is necessary then to ensure that this type of thinking is rewarded in your classroom.

How Can I Encourage a Classroom Culture of Higher Order Thinking?

Now you have a good understanding of various higher order thinking methodologies and strategies, you may be wondering how do you actually encourage higher order thinking in the classroom on a daily basis.

The best way to make higher order thinking a habit in the classroom is to display it yourself at every opportunity.

There are a number of ways you can do this. For example,

●     Do your thinking out loud - Many of us, as teachers, employ various types of higher order thinking instinctively in the classroom without even realising it. We take for granted the importance of analyzing and evaluating information to the point we’ve automatized the processes involved.

For many of our students, however, thinking deeply about new information is a skill they are still developing. By doing our thinking out loud, when faced with a problem or some new information to process, we model our methods of deep thinking for our students. This provides them with a roadmap for independently employing their own critical thinking faculties in future.

●     Expand on the curriculum - Despite many positive developments in the world of education, lots of our curriculum-based learning remains knowledge-based. While lots of this knowledge is undoubtedly useful, it can often lead to a reliance on closed questioning, where specific answers are the explicit aim of any questioning. To give scope to higher order thinking by your students, be sure to incorporate open-ended questions into your lessons. Work to create opportunities throughout your lessons for students to discuss their own ideas and why they think the way that they do.

●     Make higher order thinking a habit - As you demonstrate higher order thinking in your own thought process to the students, and create opportunities for the students themselves to engage in higher order thinking, you will be working towards making this approach a habit among your students. This will take time and need constant reinforcement and encouragement. Classroom displays and question prompt cards are two effective ways to keep higher order thinking to the fore in your classroom.

How Do I Assess the Development of Higher Order Thinking In My Students?

As with most classroom assessments, you’ll assess your students against the learning objectives you have set for them. In the case of higher order thinking, composing student learning objectives using language such as that outlined above in reference to Bloom’s taxonomy can make assessment all the easier, if applied from the outset.

It's also helpful here to distinguish between the two main types of assessment: formative assessment and summative assessment.

Formative assessment (or ongoing assessment) is largely used to inform planning. Assessing higher order thinking on an ongoing basis can be effectively achieved through oral questioning in class using the keywords and question prompts discussed earlier in this article. This can also be done as written tasks. The students' responses to this type of questioning can provide useful data to help you understand where to go next with your planning and your teaching.

Summative assessment (or end of topic, term, year etc assessment) can be a little trickier when it comes to assessing higher order thinking skills development. Unlike more knowledge-based areas of teaching and learning, you aren’t trying to get a snapshot of facts retained here. While something like a multiple-choice exam may work well for assessing that type of learning, project-based assessment may be more suited to assessing higher order thinking in the classroom.

For example, you might ask your students to demonstrate their learning, or take what they’ve learned and create a new product. Essentially, you are looking to create an assessment opportunity that allows you to evaluate the students’ abilities to synthesize and create utilizing their new understanding.

Higher order thinking involves students moving beyond simply recalling facts and repeating back exactly what they have learned.

It focuses more on how we think, rather on what we think. It requires the student to ‘do’ something with what they’ve learned, rather than simply retain it and repeat it when necessary, such as we might do in an exam. This ‘do’ can helpfully be encapsulated in the form of verbs such as create, evaluate, design, analyze etc.

Higher order thinking is a skill. And, just like any other skill, it can be taught and improved upon through practice.

To ensure our students get the opportunity to acquire and hone their higher order thinking skills, we must create opportunities in the classroom.

We must encourage a spirit of inquiry in our classrooms, as well as establish a classroom culture that encourages that spirit of inquiry in such a way that it becomes a habit. The exercises and strategies above will go some way to getting that process started.


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  6. HOTSpot Episode 1


  1. What Are Personal Skills?

    Personal skills can be described as personality and behavioral traits that determine how people act in a workplace context, including how they manage themselves, perform their work and interact with coworkers and management.

  2. What Are Examples of Good Communication Skills?

    Good communication skills consist of verbal and non-verbal modes of transferring information to another person as well as active listening skills to absorb what others are communicating.

  3. What Are Some Basic Communication Skills?

    Some basic communication skills are recognizing who the audience is, showing respect, giving a concise delivery and using an appropriate tone of voice. Body language is also important.


    HIGHER ORDER THINKING QUESTION STEMS. REMEMBER (Level 1). Recognizing and recalling. Describe what happens when___________. How is (are) ______?

  5. 81 Great Higher-Order Thinking Questions

    Higher-order thinking questions are questions that require students to apply, analyze, and evaluate information rather than simply recall it. Students must

  6. Bloom's Question Starters for Higher Order Thinking

    Higher order questions are what we use for Critical Thinking and Creative Problem Solving. I have written what each level of questions are about, given lists of

  7. Higher Order Thinking Skills Question Templates

    Higher Order Thinking Skills Question Templates. Recall. Note: Any question becomes a recall question if the answer has already.

  8. Higher Order Thinking: Bloom's Taxonomy

    Level 6: Evaluate ; Consider what you would do if asked to make a choice. How would you improve this? ; Determine which approach or argument is most effective.

  9. Higher-order Questions

    Higher-order questions are those that the students cannot answer just by simple recollection or by reading the information “verbatim” from the

  10. Higher-Order Thinking Questions

    A higher-order thinking question is a question designed to build a learner's understanding of the material. They are open-ended questions that

  11. Critical Thinking and other Higher-Order Thinking Skills

    Critical thinking is a higher-order thinking skill. Higher-order thinking skills go beyond basic observation of facts and memorization.

  12. Higher order questions encourages higher order thinking

    Higher order questions encourages higher order thinking. Based on Bloom's Taxonomy. Useful Verbs. Sample Question Stems. Potential activities and products.

  13. Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS)

    Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) · 1. What do you think could have happened next? · 2. Do you know of another instance where...? · 3. What would you change in

  14. Higher order thinking skills for students and teachers

    Higher Order Thinking Questions · How would you improve x? · What changes would you make to x? · How do you think x would feel? · What outcome do you predict? · Can