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Higher Order Thinking Skills and Academic Performance in Physics of College Students: A Regression Analysis

The study determined the relationship between higher order thinking skills (HOTS) of students and the academic performance in physics. The research was conducted at Benguet State University during the school year 2010‐2011 and respondents were
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  International Journal of Innovative Interdisciplinary Research Issue 4 2013   48 ISSN   1839 ‐ 9053   Higher Order Thinking Skills and Academic Performance in Physics of College Students A Regression Analysis Jennifer   Lyn   S.   Ramos 1 ,Bretel   B.   Dolipas 2 ,   Brenda   B.   Villamor 3   1,   2   Benguet    State   University,   Philippines   3 Philippine   Normal    University     Agusan   Campus,   Philippines    ABSTRACT The   study   determined   the   relationship   between   higher   order   thinking   skills   (HOTS)   of    students   and   the   academic   performance   in   physics.   The   research   was   conducted   at   Benguet   State   University   during   the   school   year   2010 ‐ 2011   and   respondents   were   students   enrolled   in   Physics.   Results   show   that   49.5%   of    female   students   have   average   HOTS   level   on   analysis   while   54.4%   of    male   students   have   below   average   level.   On   comparison,   almost   50%   of    both   male   and   female   students   have   below   average   level   while   more   than   half    of    male   and   female   students   have   average   level   on   inference.   Almost   half    of    male   students   and   female   students   have   average   level   of    HOTS   on   evaluation.   Male   and   female   students   have   similar   level   of    HOTS   on   all   four   areas.   Moreover   the   HOTS   level   on   analysis,   comparison   and   evaluation   significantly   influence   the   physics   performance   of    male   students   while   the   HOTS   level   on   analysis,   inference   and   evaluation   significantly   influence   the   physics   performance   of    female   students.   Keywords :   Higher   order   thinking   skills,   academic   performance,   physics,   college   students,   regression   analysis   INTRODUCTION The   type   of    thinking   process   that   students   must   develop   to   prepare   them   to   confront   the   real   world   must   go   beyond   simple   learning   of    facts   and   content.   “Knowledge   obtained   through   higher ‐ order   thinking   processes   is   more   easily   transferable,   so   that   students   with   a   deep   conceptual   understanding   of    an   idea   will   be   much   more   likely   to   be   able   to   apply   that   knowledge   to   solve   new   problems”   ( Teaching   Higher    Order    Thinking ,   n.d.).   As   highlighted   in   the   website   of    Central   Board   of    Secondary   Education   (CBSE)   Physics:   the   concept   of    higher ‐ order   thinking   skill   or   HOTS   is   a   fundamental   shift   in   evaluation   reform   that   aims   at   promoting   thinking   skills   in   learners   and   taking   them   away   from   rote   learning.   Higher   level   mental   abilities   of    the   learners   such   as   to   analyze,   interpret,   reason   out,   synthesize   or   evaluate   the   given   information   are   likely   to   enable   them   transfer   learning   to   totally   different   situations.   (http://cbse.nic.in/phycareer/hots.html).    International Journal of Innovative Interdisciplinary Research Issue 4 2013   49 ISSN   1839 ‐ 9053   Across   subject   areas,   when   teachers   ask   higher ‐ order   questions   and   provide   opportunities   for   students   to   develop   deep   explanations,   learning   is   enhanced.   Higher ‐ order   questions   often   start   with   question   stems   like:   why,   what   caused,   how   did   it   occur,   what   if,   how   do   they   compare,   or   what   is   the   evidence?   When   teachers   ask   higher ‐ order   questions   and   encourage   explanations,   they   are   helping   their   students   to   develop   important   critical   thinking   skills.   Physics   is   a   unique   and   fascinating   discipline.   It’s   hard   to   teach   and   harder   to   comprehend.   Physics   can   be   considered   as   HOT  ‐‐ higher   order   thinking.   It   makes   immense   academic   demands   on   students   in   its   learning   (Adeyemo,   2010).   The   learning   of    physics   is   difficult   at   best   and   almost   impossible   at   worst.   But   because   of    its   enormous   importance   to   science   and   technology,   there   is   understandably   huge   interest   in   students’   achievement   in   Physics,   hence   the   conceptualization   of    this   study.   BACKGROUND Higher   Order   Thinking   Skills   Higher ‐ order   thinking   basically   means   thinking   that   is   taking   place   in   the   higher ‐ levels   of    the   hierarchy   of    cognitive   processing.   The   most   widely   accepted   hierarchical   arrangement   of    this   sort   in   education   is   Bloom’s   Taxonomy,   viewing   a   continuum   of    thinking   skills   starting   with   knowledge ‐ level   thinking   to   evaluation ‐ level   of    thinking.   As   Hammond   (n.d.)   stipulates:   Critical/creative/constructive   thinking   simply   means   thinking   processes   that   progress   upward   in   the   given   direction.   First   one   critically   analyzes   the   knowledge,   information,   or   situation.   Then   creatively   consider   possible   next ‐ step   options,   and   finally,   construct   a   new   product,   decision,   direction,   or   value.   (http://xnet.rrc.mb.ca/glenh/hots.htm)   The   significance   of    higher   order   thinking   in   the   classroom   is   best   clarified   in   the   Department   of    Education,   Training   and   Employment   (DETE)   Education   website:   Higher ‐ order   thinking   by   students   involves   the   transformation   of    information   and   ideas.   This   transformation   occurs   when   students   combine   facts   and   ideas   and   synthesise,   generalise,   explain,   hypothesise   or   arrive   at   some   conclusion   or   interpretation.   Manipulating   information   and   ideas   through   these   processes   allows   students   to   solve   problems,   gain   understanding   and   discover   new   meaning.   When   students   engage   in   the   construction   of    knowledge,   an   element   of    uncertainty   is   introduced   into   the   instructional   process   and   the   outcomes   are   not   always   predictable;   in   other   words,   the   teacher   is   not   certain   what   the   students   will   produce.   In   helping   students   become   producers   of    knowledge,   the   teacher’s   main   instructional   task   is   to   create   activities   or   environments   that   allow   them   opportunities   to   engage   in   higher ‐ order   thinking.   (http://education.qld.gov.au/corporate/newbasics/html/pedagogies/intellect/int1a.html)   Correspondingly,   higher   order   thinking   skills   or   HOTS   include   skills   such   as   creative   and   critical   thinking,   analysis,   problem   solving   and   visualization   (“Higher   Order   Thinking   Skills”,   n.d.).   These   skills   involve   categorizing   items,   comparing   and   contrasting   ideas   and   theories,   and   being   able   to   write   about   and   solve   problems.   In   the   classroom,   abilities   and   skills   that   include   the   use   of    HOTS   are   complex   thinking   that   goes   beyond   basic   recall   of    facts,   such   as   evaluation   and   invention,   enabling   students   to   retain   information   and   to   apply   problem ‐ solving   solutions   to   real ‐ world   problems.   Thus,   higher   order   thinking   skills   are   valued   because   they   are   believed   to   better   prepare   students   for   the   challenges   of    adult   work   and   daily   life   and   advanced   academic   work   (“Higher   order   thinking”,   n.d.).    International Journal of Innovative Interdisciplinary Research Issue 4 2013   50 ISSN   1839 ‐ 9053   Quellmalz   Framework   of    Thinking   Skills   Although   different   theoreticians   and   researchers   use   different   frameworks   to   describe   higher   order   skills   and   how   they   are   acquired,   all   frameworks   are   in   general   agreement   concerning   the   conditions   under   which   they   prosper.   In   this   study,   the   Quellmalz   Framework   of    Thinking   Skills   was   utilized   since   it   collects   all   of    the   elements   common   to   many   other   taxonomic   structures   of    thinking   skills   (Stiggins   &   Conklin,   1992).   The   levels   are   considered   to   be   conceptually   clear   and   straightforward   making   coding   of    questions   easy.   The   four   cognitive   processes   of    analysis,   comparison,   inference   and   evaluation   are   collectively   called   higher   order   thinking   skills   (HOTS)   or   critical   thinking   skills.   These   are   the   four   areas   considered   in   the   study.   Analysis   include   understanding   relationships   between   the   whole   and   its   component   parts   and   between   cause   and   effect;   sorting   and   categorizing,   understanding   how   things   work   and   how   the   parts   of    something   fit   together;   understanding   causal   relationships;   getting   information   from   charts,   graphs,   diagrams   and   maps.   Analysis   is   more   than   rote   repetition;   instead   it   involves   reflectively   structuring   knowledge   in   new   ways   (Stiggins,   Rubel,   &Quellmalz,   1988).   Comparison   involves   explaining   how   things   are   similar   and   how   are   they   different.   Comparisons   may   either   be   simple   or   complex.   Simple   comparisons   are   based   on   a   small   number   of    very   obvious   attributes.   Complex   comparisons   require   examination   of    a   more   extensive   set   of    attributes   of    two   or   more   things;   start   with   the   whole/part   relationships   in   the   analysis   category   and   carry   them   a   step   further.   Inferential   thinking   involves   reasoning   inductively   or   deductively.   In   deductive   tasks,   students   reason   from   generalizations   to   specific   instances   and   are   asked   to   recognize   or   explain   the   evidence.   In   deductive   tasks,   students   are   given   the   evidence   or   details   and   are   required   to   relate   and   integrate   the   information   to   come   up   with   the   generalization.   According   to   Corpuz   and   Salandanan   (2003,   pp.   68 ‐ 76)   as   cited   in   Saingan   (2008),   “inferential   thinking   is   an   ability   to   form   an   idea,   opinion   or   a   conclusion   after   a   series   of    reasoning   and   speculating   outcomes   of    a   situation.   Students   who   are   able   to   formulate   conjectures,   possibilities   and   surmise   consequences   based   on   sufficient   proofs   are   considered   capable   of    this   higher ‐ order   thinking   skill”.   Evaluation,   on   the   other   hand,   means   expressing   and   defending   an   opinion.   Evaluation   tasks   require   students   to    judge   quality,   credibility,   worth   or   practicality   using   an   established   criteria   and   explain   how   the   criteria   are   met   or   not   met.   From   “Quellmalz   Taxonomy”   (n.d.)   key   words   such   as   assess,   appraise,   defend,   argue,   recommend,   debate,   critique   are   used   if    evaluation   is   to   be   measured.   Higher   Order   Thinking   Skills,   Gender   and   Academic   Achievement   Across   different   levels,   same   results   were   shown   on   the   relation   of    gender   and   higher   order   thinking   skills.   Both   male   and   female   students   have   the   same   level   of    higher   order   thinking   skills   in   the   grade   school   level   (Eisenman,   1995),   middle   school   (Song,   Koszalka   &   Grabowski,   2005),   high   school   level   (Saingan,   2008)   and   in   higher   education   (Heong,   Yunos   &   Hassan,   2011).   However,   at   higher   academic   levels,   gender   seems   to   be   a   factor.   When   critical   thinking   tests   were   given   to   graduate   and   undergraduate   senior   students,   the   gender   effect   was   significant,   with   males   consistently   having   higher   critical   thinking   skills   than   females   (King,   Wood   &   Mines,   1990).   On   the   other   hand,   several   studies   showed   mixed   results   on   the   influence   of    gender   on   academic   achievement.   Female   students   out   performed   male   students   across   subject   areas   (Day ı oglu&Türüt ‐ As ı k,   2004;   Hedges   &Nowell,   1995;   Linver,   Davis ‐ Kean   &Eccles,   2002;   Nori,   2002   as   cited   in   Habibollah,   Rohani,   Aizan,   Jamaluddin&   Kumar,   2009);   male   students   performed   better   than   female   students   (King,   Wood   &   Mines,   1990;   Voyer,   Voyer,   &Bryden,   1995;   Wai,   Cacchio,   Putallaz&Makel,   2010);   girls   are    International Journal of Innovative Interdisciplinary Research Issue 4 2013   51 ISSN   1839 ‐ 9053   better   in   some   areas   while   boys   better   in   others   (Gallagher   &DeLisi,   1994   and   Linn   &Kessel,   1996   cited   in   Odell   &   Schumacher,   1998);   no   gender   difference   in   many   nations   and   variability   of    gender   difference   across   nations   (Else ‐ Quest,   Hyde   &   Linn,   2010);   and   no   differences   in   their   performance   (Abubakar&Oguguo,   2011;   Habibollah   et   al.,   2009;   Llanes,   2002;   Moses   &   Daniel,   2008;   Pey ‐ ag,   2001).   THE STUDY The   studies   mentioned   above   show   conflicting   results   of    the   gender   gap   on   achievement   that   a   study   exploring   the   role   of    gender   to   HOTS   is   also   worth   investigating.   Unlike   mixed   results   on   gender   and   academic   achievement,   most   studies   cited   showed   that   gender   is   not   a   predictor   of    HOTS.   In   the   current   study,   the   level   of    HOTS   of    college   students   was   investigated   as   well   as   compared   their   HOTS   level   according   to   gender.   It   also   investigated   the   relationship   of    the   level   of    HOTS   of    students   to   their   academic   performance   in   physics.   Specifically   the   study   intended   to:   (1)   determine   the   level   of    higher   order   thinking   skills   in   physics   of    college   students   grouped   according   to   gender   along   analysis,   comparison,   inference   and   evaluation;   (2)   compare   the   level   of    higher   order   thinking   skills   of    male   and   female   students   along   the   four   areas;   and   (3)   determine   the   relationship   of    the   level   of    higher   order   thinking   skills   of    male   and   female   students   along   the   four   areas   to   academic   performance   in   physics.   Based   on   the   problems   stated   and   with   all   the   considerations   mentioned   above,   the   following   hypotheses   were   investigated:   (1)   There   is   an   average   level   of    higher   order   thinking   skills   along   analysis,   comparison,   inference   and   evaluation   in   physics   of    male   and   female   students;   (2)   There   are   no   significant   differences   between   the   levels   of    higher   order   thinking   skills   of    male   and   female   students   along   the   four   areas;   and   (3)   There   are   no   significant   relationships   between   the   levels   of    higher   order   thinking   skills   along   the   four   areas   and   academic   performance   in   physics   of    male   and   female   students.   METHODS   Respondents   The   respondents   were   students   enrolled   in   Physics   11   (General   Physics   1)   at   Benguet   State   University   during   the   first   and   second   semester   of    school   year   2010 ‐ 2011.   A   total   of    393   students   took   part   in   the   study,   112   are   male   and   281   are   female.   Instrument    The   instrument   was   a   teacher ‐ made   test   consisting   of    60   multiple ‐ choice   type   of    questions   covering   topics   in   Physics   11   that   include   Kinematics,   Dynamics   and   Statics.   The   area   grouping   of    HOTS   was   based   on   the   criteria   of    Quellmalz   taxonomy   (Stiggins&   Conklin,   1992,   pp.   159 ‐ 160).   The   academic   performance   of    students   in   physics   was   measured   based   on   their   final   grades   in   Physics   11.   Data    Analysis   To   determine   the   level   of    higher   order   thinking   skills   of    the   male   and   female   students,   the   frequency   count   was   utilized.   A   five ‐ point   Likert   Scale   was   used   to   determine   the   level   of    HOTS   of    the   students   based   on   their   scores.   The   following   Likert   Scale   was   used   to   measure   the   level   of    Higher   Order   Thinking   Skills   of    the   respondents:    International Journal of Innovative Interdisciplinary Research Issue 4 2013   52 ISSN   1839 ‐ 9053   Scale   Mean   Description   Symbol   Used   Test   Score   1   1    –   3   Low   Level   Higher ‐ Order   Thinking   Skills   LHOTS   2   4  ‐ 6   Below   Average   Level   Higher ‐ Order   Thinking   Skills   BHOTS   3   7  ‐ 9   Average   Level   Higher ‐ Order   Thinking   Skills   AHOTS   4   10  ‐ 12   Above   Average   Level   Higher ‐ Order   Thinking   Skills   AAHOTS   5   12    –   15   High   Level   Higher ‐ Order   Thinking   Skills   HHOTS   The   t ‐ test   was   used   to   test   difference   in   the   levels   of    HOTS   of    male   and   female   students   from   the   HOTS   average   level   and   to   determine   the   differences   in   the   HOTS   level   of    students   along   the   four   areas   when   grouped   according   to   gender.   Finally,   the   linear   regression   was   employed   to   analyze   the   relationship   between   the   level   of    HOTS   along   the   four   areas   and   academic   performance   in   Physics   of    male   and   female   students.   RESULTS Higher   Order   Thinking   Skills   of    Male   and   Female   Students   Figure   1.A   shows   the   level   of    higher   order   thinking   skills   along   analysis   of    male   and   female   students.   49.5%   female   students   have   an   average   level   of    HOTS   on   analysis   followed   by   36%   with   below   average   level.   The   rest   have   above   average   and   low   level   of    HOTS.   On   the   other   hand,   54.4%   of    male   students   have   below   average   level   while   almost   one   third   have   average   level   of    HOTS   along   analysis.   The   rest   have   above   average   (6.1%)   and   low   (3.5%)   levels   of    HOTS   along   analysis.   Figure   1.A.   Level    of    higher    order    thinking   skills   along   analysis   of    male   and     female   students.   Figure   1.B   presents   the   level   of    Higher   Order   Thinking   Skills   along   comparison   of    male   and   female   students.   48.6%   of    female   students   have   below   average   level   of    HOTS   along   comparison,   32.3%   have  
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