To Clarity and Beyond: Situating Higher-Order, Critical, and Critical-Analytic Thinking in the Literature on Learning from Multiple Texts

Alexandra List, Yuting Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


For this systematic review, learning from multiple texts served as the specific context for investigating the constructs of higher-order (HOT), critical (CT), and critical-analytic (CAT) thinking. Examining the manifestations of HOT, CT, and CAT within the specific context of learning from multiple texts allowed us to clarify and disentangle these valued modes of thought. We begin by identifying the mental activities underlying the processes and outcomes of learning from multiple texts. We then juxtapose these mental activities with definitions of HOT, CT, and CAT drawn from the literature. Through this juxtaposition, we define HOT as multi-componential, including evaluation; CT as requiring both evaluation and its justification or substantiation; and CAT as considering the extent to which evaluation and justification may be consistently and systematically applied. We further generate a number of insights, described in the final section of this article. These include the frequent manifestations of HOT, CT, and CAT within the context of students learning from multiple texts and the co-occurring demand for these valued modes of thinking. We propose an additional mode of valued thought, that we refer to as devising, when learners synthetically and systematically use knowledge and strategies gained within one multiple text learning situation to produce an original product or solution in another novel learning situation. We consider such devising to demand HOT, CT, and CAT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number40
JournalEducational Psychology Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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