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Designing assessments to support critical thinking

posted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Martin TurnerMartin Turner
Higher education in accounting faces a challenge to shift its emphasis from reproducing technical knowledge to developing higher order thinking skills such as critical thinking. The cognitive and educational psychology literature suggests students will not engage in higher order thinking skills unless they first adopt a 'deep' approach to their learning, which requires intrinsic motivation. This case study explores the question whether assessments can be designed to support accounting students to develop intrinsic motivation, adopt a 'deep' approach to their learning and engage in critical thinking. The research method used is a two-year case study involving individualised, authentic assessments and regular formative feedback. The Assessment Experience Questionnaire (AEQ) indicated a strong perception by students that the assessments in the course supported them to adopt a 'deep' approach to their learning. Student surveys and documents produced by students gave further insights into how students perceived this occurred and the mediating role of their developing intrinsic motivation. An implication of this case study is the need to support students to change their approach to learning in first year courses to enable them to engage in higher order thinking skills such as critical thinking in their university studies.


Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)


Parent Title

Tertiary assessment and higher education student outcomes : policy, practice and research.

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Ako Aotearoa

Place of Publication

Wellington, NZ

Open Access

  • No

External Author Affiliations

TBA Research Institute; Victoria University of Wellington;

Era Eligible

  • Yes

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