Higher Order Thinking Skills

“The concept of higher-order thinking skills (HOTS) became a major educational agenda item with the 1956 publication of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. Within the cognitive domain of Bloom’s taxonomy there are six levels: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. HOTS are those skills in the top three levels: analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. These three skill levels are important in critical thinking. “There is a notion that students must master the lower level skills before they can engage in higher-order thinking. However, the National Research Council objected to this line of reasoning, saying that cognitive research challenges that assumption, and that higher-order thinking is important even in elementary school. “Including higher-order thinking skills in learning outcomes is a very common feature of standards based education reform” (Source).