Developing and assessing thinking skills (2014)

Robert Swartz and Carol McGuinness

This study aims to create a research-informed and coherent framework for teaching and assessing thinking and to evaluate IB programmes against this framework. The findings are presented in two reports. The first report identifies emerging pedagogical principles that have been found to be successful for teaching thinking, as well as specific practices and techniques. The authors draw on systematic reviews, both narrative reviews and quantitative meta-analysis, summarizing trends and findings, and closely examine the approaches adopted by specific programmes that have made a positive impact on students’ thinking and learning. The second report evaluates the extent to which three of the IB programmes, the Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the Diploma Programme (DP), align with the principles and practices identified in the first report. Generally, the authors suggest that the IB should articulate thinking skills more clearly in their curriculum materials and provide guidance on how to make thinking skills more explicit and visible in teaching and assessment practices in the classroom.

Summary pdf
Report part 1 pdf
Report part 2 pdf