Conference: Promoting Teaching and Assessment of Higher Order Thinking Skills in 21st Century: Possibilities, Challenges and Way forward

World is changing rapidly and becoming more challenging for the current and coming generations by unfolding mind boggling problems in every field. Consequently, we need changes in curriculum, teaching strategies and assessment practices to enhance students’ creative, analytical, critical and problem solving skills that are termed collectively as Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS). HOTS involves making judgments, evaluating reasons, justifying claims and engaging in metacognitive activities that requires analyzing, synthesizing, interpreting, inferring, assessing, creating, and problem solving skills. Educators consider that HOTS occur when a learner acquires new knowledge and stores it in memory, correlate, organize, or evaluate it to achieve a specific purpose. The process of utilizing that acquired knowledge in related or different situations to find out the solutions of certain problems is called critical thinking ability. An individual with all these abilities can be able to turn up with innovative ideas and number of alternative solution of problems. Sternberg (2009) views that HOTS as a component of intelligence, increases with age as the acquisition of retention and transfer steadily lead to a growing knowledge. It requires training and capacity building of the faculty to apply them in teaching, assessment and supervising research projects. Therefore, we need powerful and effective teaching in higher education that enable the students to apply learned knowledge in new situation helps students learn how to use knowledge in new situations, to use technologies that have not been invented yet, and to solve problems that haven’t yet identified are still latent. It aims at developing young people who can face their future with intelligence - ‘knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do’. 

Inspite of recognized significance about the learning of HOTS, it has been observed that they are by and large missing in the education system of Pakistan that has serious repercussions for the academic, social and economic development. In Pakistan, by and large assessment is used to figure out marks and grades instead of using it as a supportive element of learning. It neither directs nor supports learning in classroom to develop analyzing, interpreting, inferring, judging, criticizing, creative skills of the learners. We need assessment that not only measures students learning in terms of marks and grades but also promotes learning, and students’ achievements in context to what their weaknesses and strengths are, and how they can be helped to improve their learning. It may not be only used for categorizing and grading for accountability purposes for students and teachers. To run teaching learning process in a tight jacket by merely imparting textual information for filling the empty vessels, ignoring practice on the cost of theory, uncontextualised and uncritical borrowing of policies and practices from developed countries and lack of caring and compassionate environment is awarding death to analytical, critical, reflective and creative skills of the learner.

Consequently, academicians, teacher educators, policy makers across the globe are thinking about the role of education for preparing people to live and address the challenges of 21st century by educating critical, creative, collaborative (partnership), cooperative and problem solving skills.  There is a growing realization that social, economic, emotional development is not possible without the learning and practicing of HOTSs. They can be an effective tool for solving problems at local, national and international levels that is critically important in modernizing and developing a nation. The draft of National Education Policy 2017 also emphasizes on the application of innovative and inquiry based teaching-learning strategies that may produce thinking students equipped with the abilities of observing, questioning, critically analysing and finding out the creative solution of problems. Without equipping the teachers with suitable academic qualifications, knowledge and skills that is embedded in HOTSs, the dream of progressive, prosperous and happy nation cannot be achieved.   
In this context, Department of Education of Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU) with the collaboration of Punjab Higher Education Commission is planning an International conference on the title ‘Education in the 21 Century: Promoting Teaching and Assessment of Higher Order Thinking Skills’ to share and discuss in the light of the insight from the policy makers, teacher educators, researchers, academicians across the globe to find out way forward for teaching and assessment of HOTSs. The conference themes will cover curriculum, teaching, assessment and technology dimensions to promote the teaching and assessment of HOTSs. The recommendations of the conference may be useful for the students, teachers, researchers, teacher educators, curriculum experts, policy makers to get insight to address the situation.  Education Department has already organised a number of national and international conferences to address the educational challenges for improving the quality of education.

Objectives of Conference

The objectives of the conference are:

  1. To provide an opportunity to the educationists for discourse on practices, trends, prospects and challenges in teaching and assessment of higher order thinking skills across the disciplines.
  2. To propose the framework on the basis of suggestions given by the researchers for the inclusion of higher order thinking skills in higher education for national holistic development in context to curriculum, teaching and assessment in 21st century.


Themes for conference:
National and International participants will be invited to present their research related to the following themes:


Major Themes



Curriculum role in teaching and assessment of HOTSs

  • Philosophy of curriculum
  • Curriculum mapping
  • Curriculum formulation process
  • Models of curriculum
  • Curriculum Implementation
  • Curriculum Evaluation


Teaching and Learning dimension in promoting higher order thinking skills

  • Inquiry based learning
  • Experiential learning
  • Reflective learning
  • Learning critical thinking skills
  • Learning creative skills
  • Problem solving learning
  • Collaborative learning
  • Cooperative learning


Role of ICT in teaching HOTSs

  • Learning the use of ICT in education
  • Use of ICT in teaching critical thinking skills
  • Use of technology for teaching creative thinking skills
  • Use of technology for teaching problem solving skills
  • Use of technology for assessment purposes
  • Use of technology for organizational management
  • Online learning and blended learning
  • Effective Use of  Web-Based Teachings


Assessment Practices and Higher order thinking skills

  • Learning supportive assessment
  • Authentic assessment
  • Performance based assessment
  • Peer assessment
  • Portfolio assessment
  • Holistic assessment


Self-Regulated learning and Higher Order Thinking Skills

  • Lifelong learning
  • Non-formal education
  • Independent learning


Inclusive Education and HOTSs

  • Inclusive education (Special Needs)
  • Child Safety and security at educational institutions
  • Community and parents participation
  • Gender Parity and Civic Education


Key Note Speakers:

  • Dr. Shahid Siddique, Former, Vice Chancellor, Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad.
  • Dr. Muhammad Memon, Professor IED, Agha Khan University, Karachi.
  • Dr. Saeeda Shah, University of Leicester, UK.
  • Dr. Alison Fox, University of Melten Keyene, UK.

Duration: Duration of conference would be of 3 working days.


Abstract information:
Abstracts to be prepared in Microsoft Word format, font size 12 in Times New Roman throughout. Maximum word count 500 words. Please provide a title for the presentation and indicate relative themes. APA referencing conventions are to be followed as the current (6th edition) American Psychological Association (APA).
Email for abstract submission: conference2020[email protected]

Conference Dates:
      Conference On: October 22-23, 2020

Abstract submission date: August 30, 2020

Abstract Review Results: September 20, 2020

Paper and Presentation submission date: September 30, 2020

Registration Fee*

Payment type

Early Bird**

Students Participants

PKR. 500

Faculty Participation

PKR. 1000

Local Presenters


International Presenters & Participants


Conference Organizers

Conference Patron: Dr. Saima Hamid, VC, FJWU

Conference Advisor: Dr. Sarwet Rasul, Faculty Advisor, Faculty of Education, FJWU

Conference Coordinator: Dr.Malik Ghulam Behlol, Head of Education Department, FJWU

Conference Co-Cordinator: Ms. Farkhanda Jabeen, Lecturer, Department of Education, FJWU

Conference Co-Cordinator: Dr. Uzma Imtiaz, Assistant Professor, Department of English, FJWU   

File Download