Higher order thinking in chemistry curriculum and its assessment

Fensham, Peter & Bellocchi, Alberto (2013) Higher order thinking in chemistry curriculum and its assessment. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 10, pp. 250-264.

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Abstract

Higher-order thinking has featured persistently in the reform agenda for science education. The intended curriculum in various countries sets out aspirational statements for the levels of higher-order thinking to be attained by students. This study reports the extent to which chemistry examinations from four Australian states align and facilitate the intended higher-order thinking skills stipulated in curriculum documents. Through content analysis, the curriculum goals were identified for each state and compared to the nature of question items in the corresponding examinations. Categories of higher-order thinking were adapted from the OECD’s PISA Science test to analyze question items. There was considerable variation in the extent to which the examinations from the states supported the curriculum intent of developing and assessing higher-order thinking. Generally, examinations that used a marks-based system tended to emphasize lower-order thinking, with a greater distribution of marks allocated for lower-order thinking questions. Examinations associated with a criterion-referenced examination tended to award greater credit for higher-order thinking questions. The level of complexity of chemistry was another factor that limited the extent to which examination questions supported higher-order thinking. Implications from these findings are drawn for the authorities responsible for designing curriculum and assessment procedures and for teachers.

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4 citations in Scopus
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3 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 60747
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Chemistry assessment, Higher order thinking in chemistry, Chemistry curriculum, PISA Questions, Assessing higher order thinking, HOT, Lower order thinking, Chemistry examinations, HERN
DOI: 10.1016/j.tsc.2013.06.003
ISSN: 1871-1871
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Secondary Education (130106)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development (130202)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Education Assessment and Evaluation (130303)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Teacher Education & Leadership
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Elsevier Ltd
Copyright Statement: Voluntary posting by an author on open websites operated by the author or the author’s institution for scholarly purposes, as determined by the author, or (in connection with preprints) on preprint servers.
Deposited On: 12 Jun 2013 23:14
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2017 03:58

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