Stephen F. Austin State University

Higher Order Thinking Skills

Higher-Order Thinking Skills

The primary definition of higher-order thinking used to focus the Make an Impact @ SFA project comes from Thomas and Thorne (2008). Higher Order Thinking, or HOT for short, takes thinking to higher levels than just restating the facts. HOT requires that we do something with the facts. We must understand them, connect them to each other, categorize them, manipulate them, put them together in new or novel ways, and apply them as we seek new solutions to new problems (p.1).

King, F.J., Goodson, L., & Rohani, F. (1998) Higher order thinking skills: Definitions, strategies, assessment. Retrieved from:

Bloom's Taxonomy Connections:

These skills are commonly defined based on Bloom's Taxonomy, which examines and categorizes different levels of thinking; HOTS being placed amongst the higher levels. The levels of thinking for Bloom's Taxonomy starting from lowest to highest are knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. When doing work that requires use of a higher level of thinking such as evaluation, then you are using higher order thinking skills. Thus, level of understanding must be higher in order to complete this type of work.

Applications in the Classroom:

In order to promote HOTS within the classroom, students must not only have a basic knowledge and comprehension of concepts but be able to apply what they are learning through hands on activities. By stimulating critical thinking such as this, students will be likely to learn how to be self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective in their thinking process. Projects, activities, and assignments should include questions that challenge students to clarify their understanding, make knowledgeable assumptions, come up with reasons and evidence for their thinking, define their viewpoints and perspectives, determine implications and consequences, and evaluate the concept at hand in its' entirety.