Higher Order Cognitive Skills (HOCS)

We are interested in formally assessing student’s critical thinking and problem solving skills in a clear and consistent manner that enables the students to develop stronger higher order cognitive skills. To that end we assess student’s success in analyzing, synthesizing, applying and evaluating content knowledge in a specific assignment.

For most of these, the examples we used applied primarily to research project type examples.

  • Under analysis, we specifically looked at the clarity of research question as well as if the student clearly identified the rationale or hypothesis.
  • Under synthesis, we looked at the design of methodology of the project.
  • Under application, we looked for students to address the safety and ethical considerations of their project. We also looked at how students collected data, analyzed the data and presented their data.
  • Under evaluation, we looked for the treatment of accuracy and precision as well as how the student described the relevance of the project.