The effects of higher order thinking on student achievement and English proficiency


  • Annela Teemant Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis
  • Charles S. Hausman Eastern Kentucky University
  • James Chamwada Kigamwa Indiana University Bloomington


This quantitative study investigates the effect of urban teacher (N = 18) use of higher order thinking on language arts achievement and English development. Using Bloom’s six level hierarchy of higher order thinking, teachers were designated as high (levels 3 to 6) or low (levels 1 or 2) users of higher order thinking. Findings demonstrate statistically significant gains in coached teachers use of higher order thinking, and simultaneous gains in their students language arts achievement. Regardless of the coaching status of their teachers, when teachers used higher order thinking, their students made significant gains in both language arts achievement and English proficiency. Implications point to the value of increasing, not decreasing, the level of cognitive challenge when teaching culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse students.

Key Words: Cognitive Challenge, Achievement, English proficiency, Instructional coaching; Professional development; Urban Elementary Teachers.


Author Biographies

Annela Teemant, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Annela Teemant is an Associate Professor of Second Language Education (Ph.D., Ohio State University, 1997) at IUPUI. She has been awarded four U.S. Department of Education ESL teacher quality grants. 

Charles S. Hausman, Eastern Kentucky University

Charles S. Hausman is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership (Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 1997) and Doctoral Program Coordinator at Eastern Kentucky University. He has served as a science teacher, school administrator, Director of Research and Evaluation, Associate Superintendent of an urban school district, and university professor at the Universities of Maine, Utah and Kentucky.

James Chamwada Kigamwa, Indiana University Bloomington

James Chamwada Kigamwa is an Adjunct Professor (Ph.D., Indiana University Bloomington, 2012) at IUPUI.  His research interests include teaching and learning, student development, and heritage language development studies.


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