If our students could analyze, synthesize, and evaluate, what would that look like in school, college, and the workplace? You’re probably thinking, like most educators or employers, that would be fantastic. Unfortunately, these skills are often not assessed. Susan M. Brookhart, author of How to Assess Higher-Order Thinking Skills in your Classroom, says that studies show that most teacher-made tests require only the recall of information. So, what is higher-order thinking exactly?
Brookhart begins by defining what higher-order thinking is, discussing the three categories for defining higher-order thinking. She recognizes that there is clearly an overlap in these definitions
Categories for Defining Higher-Order Thinking:
Very seldom in our adult lives do we need to simply recall information. Yes, we recall our math facts when doing a simple calculation or geography when traveling or watching the nightly news. However, most times we need to apply, analyze, synthesize, evaluate, investigate etc. Brookhart believes that most teachers understand this, but often don’t carry it through to their assessment practices. A significant amount of our instructional time is spent making sure students have mastered basic information, or in the bottom 2-3 levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, leaving little time for practice of the higher-order skills.
Friendship Central School and other educators have taken part in several on-demand workshops based around these ideas on higher-order thinking. Learn more about how to build higher-order thinking skills into both instruction and assessment at CA BOCES. To get your school or group scheduled for a workshop on higher-order thinking, contact CA BOCES (Laurie Sledge at 716-376-8357).
By: Deanna Wilkinson, CA BOCES Professional Development