A phenomenological study of secondary teachers' experiences with assessing higher order thinking skills

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Educational Leadership


Department of Educational Leadership


Advisor: Carolyn R. Benz


The study explored the experiences of seven effective high school teachers in assessing higher order thinking skills. For students to graduate an Ohio public school, they are to have the resources and skills to be college and career ready and according to the Ohio Learning Standards and developing higher order thinking is part of this mandate. Because of these demands, increased focus and attention is being directed to the development of knowledge beyond basic recall and rote memorization and towards deeper understanding, critical thinking, and problem solving. The methods used for this study were based on a qualitative phenomenological design that used a social constructivist framework and an ontological philosophical basis. Seven teachers from an Ohio secondary public-school district were the participants. Empirical data were collected through in-depth interviews and analysis of the data was through horizonalizing and finding themes, developing textural descriptions, and deriving meanings and essences. Twelve themes were constructed--internal classroom themes of defining higher order thinking, questioning, collaborative groups, problem and project based learning, demonstration of skills, instilling confidence, time; and external themes of administrators, professional development, teacher training, Common Core or Ohio Learning Standards, and collaboration with other teachers.


Cognition Testing Interpretation, High school teachers Research Ohio, Examinations Interpretation, Education, Educational Leadership, phenomenology, assessing, higher order thinking skills, experiences of secondary teachers

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