Exploring the structure of students’ scientific higher order thinking in science education

He Sun, Yueguang Xie, Jari Lavonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Science education research has long focused on scientific higher-order thinking (S-HOT) and observed that students’ HOT plays an important role in the science learning process. However, the existing research has tended to overlook the Comprehensive nature of scientific higher-order thinking (S-HOT) and stopped short of defining its unique features. In response, this study presents a novel model for S-HOT that synthesises five competencies. To confirm the structure of S-HOT, the study developed a new questionnaire to measure students’ S-HOT. The study's participants included 1,153 students from 15 junior high schools in China. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses indicated that the developed S-HOT survey had satisfactory validity and reliability. Structural equation modelling was used to confirm the cause-and-effect relationships between creative thinking, critical thinking, metacognition, science self-efficacy, and scientific reasoning in the S-HOT structure. The results showed that the average score of male students was significantly higher than that of female students in creative thinking. It was also revealed that there was a correlation between the five competencies: metacognition had a significant path to scientific reasoning, science self-efficacy had a significant path to critical and creative thinking, and scientific reasoning directly affected science self-efficacy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100999
JournalThinking Skills and Creativity
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Educational technology
  • Factor structure
  • Higher-order thinking
  • Science education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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