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Sharpen Critical Thinking Skills

Ask students the right types of questions throughout the year to boost test performance. 

By Margie Markarian
  • Grades: 6–8, 9–12

Bloom's Taxonomy identifies six levels of cognitive thinking. At the basic level, there's knowledge and comprehension. At the higher level, there's evaluation, synthesis, analysis, and application. Since critical thinking happens at the higher level, is a key component of standardized tests, and an important life skill, challenge students with critical thinking questions during class discussions and on chapter and unit tests throughout the year. The following word list will help you guide question development:   

 

Higher Order Thinking Skills:

  • Evaluation: Ask questions that require students to assess, compare, criticize, justify, resolve, conclude.
  • Synthesize: Ask questions that require students to combine, create, invent, plan, formulate, negotiate.
  • Analysis: Ask questions that require students to analyze, connect, infer, compare, contrast, prioritize.
  • Application: Ask questions that require students to apply, classify, solve, demonstrate, experiment, determine.

 

Lower Order Thinking Skills:

  • Comprehension: Ask questions that require students to explain, describe, interpret, discuss, differentiate, restate.
  • Knowledge: Ask questions that require students to define, describe, tell, identify, list, name.

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