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Poh, A. S. H. (1997, June). Assessment for higher-order thinking skills and implications: Meeting the challenges of the coming millennium. Paper presented at the 7th International Conference on Thinking, Singapore.
Present assessment practices may promote superficial learning or learning at the surface level only. To encourage deep-level learning and understanding, higher-order thinking and application of learning to real life situations, some changes to the current assessment practices may have to be made. These are really not radical changes but have been practised before. Unfortunately, the accountability movement has built up considerable momentum for conventional forms of assessment, relying on written tests and examinations mainly, leading to the reproduction and regurgitation of materials learned at the surface level. However, experienced educators will recognise that the assessment of real accomplishments and its implications for the curriculum, teaching and learning situation, school environment; may involve fundamental shifts in the way we think about education. This may be the 'quantum leap' that is spoken of by the local politicians. Hence to revert and enrich the practice and incorporate some of these changes may not be easy.
To change only the assessments without the accompanying changes in curriculum, teaching and learning and the school environment, would not be that effective. But hopefully, a start could be made, since there is a call now for different approaches to learning and assessing higher-order thinking skills. Assessment should take into consideration the production of knowledge, encouraging in-depth understanding with implications for curriculum review, the teaching and learning situation and the educational environment where the instructional process takes place.
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