February 13, 2015

Don’t Assume Difficult Question Automatically Lead to Higher-Order Thinking


They’re the kind of questions that promote thinking and result in sophisticated intellectual development. They’re the kind of questions teachers aspire to ask students, but, according to research, these types of questions aren’t the typical ones found on most course exams. Part of the disconnect between these aspirations and the actualities results from the difficulty of writing questions that test higher-order thinking skills.

April 12, 2013

Moving up Bloom’s Taxonomy in an Introductory Course: What’s Being Done


The content of many courses is too focused on the facts—those details that students memorize, use to answer test questions, and then promptly forget. That criticism has been levied against many introductory college-level courses, especially by those of us who think faculty are too focused on covering content. But is it a fair criticism? Do introductory courses ignore the higher-level thinking skills, like those identified on the Bloom taxonomy? Is the evidence empirical or anecdotal?

March 10, 2011

The Facts on Higher Order Thinking


I just read a study that pretty much blew my socks off. An article highlighting the details will appear in the March issue of The Teaching Professor. I’ll give you the nutshell version here. The researchers were interested in finding out if there was empirical evidence to support the frequent criticism that introductory courses are fact filled with little content that challenges higher order thinking. Beyond anecdotal evidence, this research team didn’t find much empirical documentation so, being biologists, they decided to look at introductory-level biology courses.

December 2, 2010

Test Messages


“The type of assessment used in a course provides a clear indication of what the course goals truly are. No matter what the teacher says, tests are proof of whether the goals are memorization of chemical facts, plug-and-chug mathematical problem