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Thursday, January 09, 2020

Assessments books focusing on HOTS questions for 21st Century Learning

2020. The start of a new decade. We have been moving away from rote learning to self-directed learning of the 21st century. Schools and teachers have been talking about creative thinking and more and more exam questions are based on HOTS questions or KBAT (in Malay). As parents we have to keep ourselves abreast with what our children are learning at school in order to guide them.

What is HOTS/KBAT?

The acronym HOTS stands for High Order Thinking Skills. KBAT is the Malay equivalent which is "Kemahiran Berfikir Aras Tinggi"

HOTS is based on various taxonomies of learning, and in particularly the 1956 book by Benjamin Bloom the "Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals." 

Bloom’s Taxonomy was designed with six levels to promote higher order thinking. The six levels are- knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation.  Bloom’s aim was to promote higher forms of thinking in education, such as analyzing and evaluating, instead of just teaching students to remember and regurgitate facts (rote learning). 

It is important for educators to guide the thinking process starting from kindergarten so that students can progress from LOTS (Lower Order Thinking Skills) to HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills).

The aim is to help students progress from remembering (gathering information) to understanding (confirming the information gathered), to applying (making use of knowledge), to analyzing (taking information apart) and finally evaluating (judging the outcome).

How Parents Can Help

If students use higher-order thinking skills and practice problem solving regularly, then thinking will become a habit!

“Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking.” – The Critical Thinking Community (2015)

Parents can help their children practice HOTS till it becomes a habit. Parents, especially those with kids from P1 to P3 who are worried about not knowing how their children are progressing can help their children practice by using assessment books focusing on these types of HOTS questions being asked in today's school exam papers based on our National curriculum.

HOTS Practice Books by Oxford Fajar

At Oxford Fajar, Topical Practice Books are designed to enable students to grasp key points  from each topic with HOTS questions and answers.

Primary school titles include, Drill In, Smart Practice and Effective Practice for both SK and SJK.
Let’s Practice Series for DLP schools – Let’s Practice is the series where Maths and Science subjects are taught in English in Schools under the  DLP programme. (DLP = Dual Language Programme where Math and Science are taught in English in participating schools).

Secondary school titles include Drill In, Smart Practice, Effective Practice and Big Ideas


Model Test Papers on the other hand are designed for students to prepare for their examinations. The exercises are modelled after actual examination format and are crafted according to the requirements and learning objectives of the national curriculum. Students, parents or teachers can use these test papers to evaluate in preparation for exams which are moving towards HOTS and away from LOTS. Students need frequent practice to embrace this change and make it a habit.

It is important to get relevant and high quality workbooks from trusted publishers because there are many types out there however they may not be valid to the current syllabus.

There is Score In and Achieve for all major exams (UPSR, PT3 & SPM). For non major exam years there is Get Ahead or Exam Prep titles

Why HOTS is Good for Students

With HOTS or critical thinking skills students who are talented in many areas have the opportunity to discover these talents. Unlike the previous rote learning models, students with broader interests are encouraged and rewarded.

In today's open society created by advanced digital technology, innovation and creativity is the key towards success. The ability to think critically and creatively, to collaborate with others, and to communicate clearly sets students up for success in their careers and in life.

This post was brought to you by Oxford Fajar Malaysia.

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5 Lucky winners stand a chance to win a set each of Practice Workbooks tailored for their child's level. Join giveaway here.

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