Digital-Based Assessments for Higher-Order and Critical Thinking Skills in Higher Education

Digital-Based Assessments for Higher-Order and Critical Thinking Skills in Higher Education

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-2468-1.ch012
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This chapter examines the use of digital assessments and the development of higher order thinking skills (HOTS). A number of theories such as surface and deep learning, constructive alignment, and Benjamin Bloom's taxonomy of learning objectives, among many others, are used to help elucidate the importance of digital assessments in teaching, learning and assessments. Artificial intelligence (AI) is seen as contributing to shaping the provision of digital assessments in higher education and also the development of HOTS. Although digital assessments are becoming ubiquitous, the practice of traditional assessments is proving to be resilient due to limited innovation on the part of the educators. Continuous professional development is perceived as the key to the use of digital assessments that help to promote critical thinking among students. Innovative practices such as the use of the e-portfolios can enhance the development of HOTS.
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The World Wide Web (WWW), which is termed the Web, explains the mechanism that facilitates information retrieval of the internet (Enyclopedia Britannica, 2021). The development of the internet has its genesis to 1989, to the work of Berners-Lee, a British nationality. The internet may be encapsulated as a network of computers or other devices such as smart phones and tablets that are electronically linked globally, and that are able to access information from different places, through hyperlinks from hypertexts. The connections of the hypertext or hypermedia, through hyperlinks, enables people to access information, on the internet, on many areas, which is vital for learning and assessments. In the context of higher education students can select a word and type it on the internet and will then be able to access information on numerous other related documents on that word or phrase. Hypermedia also allows a person to access information that is related to any sound, animation or video (Enyclopedia Britannica, 2021).

Servers are programmes that help with the storage of information on the internet. When a person wants to obtain information on the internet, programmes called servers, avails the information. In our contemporary societies the electronic devices that are linked to the internet, have become universal in application in the form of cell phones, desktop computers, and lap tops among many others (Ming-Hung et al., 2017; Joint Information Systems Committee, 2010; Volungeviciene et al., 2021). These changes and innovations have made it imperative to integrate technology in teaching learning and assessment (Keengwe & Kidd, 2010; Sun & Chen, 2016).

The development of digital learning was mooted by Jay Cross in 1999 (Ming-Hung et al., 2017). Oleksandra et al. (2017) classified the development of information technology into three stages which are use of computer for personal purpose, use of computers for learning engagements and interactions and use of software that facilitate group engagements. Computers are also used in decision making and group interactions. The initial computer afforded an individual to use a computer for personal purposes, the current trend is for computers to be situated on the cloud and this facilitates access to information and software to groups of people. This transition to web based software and platforms creates an opportunity for students to access a variety of learning and assessments resources (Oleksandra et al.,2017). The development of communication technologies has evolved from the use of software for individual purpose, to the evolution of software that allow for learning in real time and at your own pace, on the emerging e-Learning platforms such as Learning Management Systems (LMS).

Digital learning was encapsulated by Ming-Hung et al. (2017, p. 3555) as including the

  • Internet corporate network, computer, satellite, broadcasting, audio tapes

  • interactive TV and compact disks. The application includes the includes the

  • network based learning, computer-based learning, virtual classrooms

  • and digital cooperation

Key Terms in this Chapter

Digital: Referring to use of technology.

Electronic Portfolio: A facility on the web where students can store their work.

Deep Learning: Learning styles that help students to secure meaning and solve complex problems and apply knowledge to new situation.

Intranet: A limited form of communication network in an organization formed by using world wide web software.

Schemata: Abstract cognitive structures that shows general forms of knowledge.

Metacognition: Knowledge of one’s own thoughts and being able to reflect on them.

Cloud-Based Learning: Is learning that takes place in a virtual space and is not connected to one computer.

Surface Learning: Learning that has to do with rote memorization and little or no application of knowledge.

Hyperlink: Refers to data a student or computer user can follow online.

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