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The Assessment of Higher-order Thinking Skills in Online EFL Courses: A Quantitative Content Analysis

Author:

Evelina Johansson

University of Gothenburg, SE
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Abstract

Studies within second language learning indicate that higher-order thinking skills (HOTS) are important for the process of learning a new language. At the same time, previous literature indicates that assessment tasks in online courses often focus on lower-order thinking skills. Little is still known about if and how thinking skills are assessed in online EFL courses. Hence, the purpose of this study is to create a more comprehensive understanding of if and how online EFL students at Swedish universities are given opportunities to both develop and being assessed on such skills. According to the sociocultural perspective, collaboration is beneficial to students’ learning. Thus, the present study will also look into the correspondence between HOTS e-assessment tasks and collaborative e-assessment tasks. E-assessment tasks used in four online EFL courses given at Swedish universities have been classified according to the revised version of Bloom’s taxonomy. This has been done through a quantitative content analysis of used e-assessment tasks. The study found that the majority of courses included more e-assessment tasks focusing on higher-order thinking than on lower-order thinking. However, a significant difference was detected between literature and linguistics modules in the sense that literature modules include more HOTS e-assessment tasks. Moreover, the results suggest that collaborative e-assessment tasks are slightly more common in e-assessment tasks that focus on HOTS than on LOTS. The present study provides insight into how thinking skills are assessed and developed in online language courses.

How to Cite: Johansson, E., 2020. The Assessment of Higher-order Thinking Skills in Online EFL Courses: A Quantitative Content Analysis. Nordic Journal of English Studies, 19(1), pp.224–256.
Published on 29 Jun 2020.
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