Constructing understanding through critical questioning: A comparative study of first year undergraduate and postgraduate writing and communication classes
This study explored how the forms and depth of critical questions asked by students differ between first year undergraduate students and first year postgraduate students in the Faculty of Engineering. The authors hypothesised that students who were of greater seniority, and would have had more opportunities to encounter, and respond to, higher-order questions were likely to (1) field questions more frequently, and (2) ask higher-order critical questions compared to their peers who are new to university life. To address these hypotheses, a comparative observational study was conducted with one undergraduate class and one postgraduate Engineering class to find evidence of the relationship between learning to think and developing thinking skills required for learning. An adaptation of Bloom’s framework was used to categorise the types of questions raised. The results showed that (1) there was no clear difference between the number of questions asked by the undergraduates and postgraduates, and (2) academic experience appears to be significant in determining the types of questions asked. There was a difference in the types of questions asked by and the level of thinking skills of undergraduates and postgraduates. The former displayed lower-order skills, while the latter displayed higher-order skills.
Journal/Conference/Book titleAsian Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning