Higher Order Learning Teaching and Assessment Strategies Essay

September 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

High-order thinking skills are an essential tool that allows a person to do well in the academic and professional environment. To develop and assess these skills in high school history classroom, it is possible to use rubrics as a scoring guide for the teacher and as an explanation for the students of what is expected from them.

High order thinking is of crucial importance in history, for merely remembering events from the past and mechanically recalling them is often of little use. Simply understanding them (that is, accepting the interpretation provided for the student) is also not enough; it does little to develop the learner. Students need to be able to analyze texts and evaluate them, so as to be able to see e.g. the many-sidedness of numerous events in the society more objectively.

Thus, it is crucial to apply high order thinking strategies in history lessons, especially if the lessons are given to 9-12 grades students. Even though the understanding of key concepts and interpretation of events is challenging, these learners are mature enough to be able to realize the many-sidedness of historical events (Bulgren, Deshler, & Lenz, 2007). It is even more essential to teach them high-order thinking because for some of them these lessons may be their last chance to learn these strategies and use them in the academic environment, whereas others need to be prepared to use these skills in their further education.

High order thinking strategies do much to improve both the quality of the instruction and the achievements of the students. Using these strategies stimulates the teacher to present different points of view on a given problem and look for methods to engage students in the learning process. Students, on the other hand, will be much more interested and involved in the lesson if they are given various points of view and if the multi-sidedness of events is shown to them, rather than when they are simply made to remember a set of facts.

Applying rubrics to assess students provides them with additional feedback and gives them a clearer understanding of what they are expected to do to complete an assignment. For the teacher, they serve as a scoring guide (Mertler, 2001). Holistic rubrics provide students with the basic picture of the quality expectations, but the amount of feedback may be too little. On the other hand, analytical rubrics give much more detailed explanation of what the students’ work should look like, but they are much more voluminous, which makes it time-consuming for the teacher to create and use them; in addition, some students may not even read them due to their size.

Use of higher-order thinking strategies also allows the teacher to develop more effective assessments of students’ skills. They can serve as guiding criteria for the teacher to formulate what is to be expected from the student, permitting the educator to more clearly see how well the learner uses thinking skills.

By using the Bloom’s revised taxonomy (Krathwohl, 2002, p. 215), it is possible to create criteria for a rubric to assess a written assignment. Let us consider a simple example. If a student merely retells the events from a book, and the text is incoherent, they gain 1 point; if the text is coherent (that is, the student apparently understands the materials), they obtain 2 points. If the student applies the data and analyzes the events, successfully classifies them, they receive 3-4 points. If the student evaluates events, providing their own judgments and arguing for one of the positions given in the literature, they get 5 points. If they create their own interpretation that somewhat differs from what is given in the sources, they get 6 points for the assignment.

To sum up, high-order thinking is important for a person, and developing them in the history class gives students a powerful mental tool. Using rubrics allow the teacher to provide the student with more explanations of what is expected from them, as well as to give more feedback to the learners.


Bulgren, J., Deshler, D. D., & Lenz, B. K. (2007). Engaging adolescents with LD in higher order thinking about history concepts using integrated content enhancement routines. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 40(2), 121-133. Web.

Krathwohl, D. R. (2002). A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy: An overview. Theory into Practice, 41(4), 212-218.

Mertler, C. A. (2001). Designing scoring rubrics for your classroom. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 7(25). Web.

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