Determining children's Higher Order Skills when ICT is used

ICT literacy

By Michael Hilkemeijer


The question of how to assess higher order thinking skills that you have learned the above examples of strategies to implement in your classroom practice.

Higher order thinking skills are developed with technology in the classroom when there is a learning environment that encourages exploration when opportunities are presented to decide which software to use and how to use it, to make plans, to monitor progress during extended tasks, to evaluate and to reflect on ICT solutions and of course, the contribution made by ICT.


ICT capability is inextricably linked to practical outcomes in meaningful subject-related contexts such as literacy learning. This means that higher order thinking skills fit with this character as well.

So in order for you to discover how to assess higher order thinking skills in your classroom, it is appropriate that I explore with you formative assessment options.


In the past, teacher observation was used to assess HOTS, however, they resulted in systematically collected sets of work that demonstrated development from draft to final versions of work. Oral questioning was also conducted.


HOTS can only really be assessed if children carry out a task. If you use questioning and discussion about how and why they did something it should assist you in the assessment decisions.

In other words, it is better to assess them along with the processes.


Let me explain further.


An assessment of a finished product will only provide partial and often very limited evidence of a child’s ICT capabilities. A finished product will not reveal the decisions used to complete it.


You can only judge if a student can carry out a process if you can determine that they can make decisions and HOTS are assessed to the extent to which scaffolding is necessary.


For example:

  • Which media to combine, and in what way, in order to present some particular information to a specific audience or;
  • Which series of ICT techniques to use in order to follow a line of enquiry to prove or disprove a hypothesis.


The most effective way to assess ICT capability is to give children something interesting to do and then monitor the approaches they use to complete the task.


What you need to judge is the decisions they made in order to create a finished product. This would involve you:

  • Assessing their logic and reasoning – in using a particular ICT technique or software to complete a task. Were there any deductions made? Did you identify any assumptions? What about inductions?
  • Assessing their problem solving – an ICT capable student is someone who can construct ICT solutions to problem situations. So did they identify the problem? Did they explore possible strategies? Did they act on the strategies?
  • Assessing their judgement – did they exercise good judgement in using an ICT technique or software?


How to assess higher order thinking skills

This PDF will enable you to learn more about how to assess higher order thinking skills in your classroom today.