Traditionally, children have been taught to learn by rote. That is, they were taught to memorize the facts; they were then tested not so much on their knowledge as their ability to memorize the material. Although this is a good method for some academic studies, such as learning the multiplication and periodic tables, it is not an adequate teaching method for the long term because children ultimately need to learn how to find the facts and information they need for every subject. But more importantly, they have to be able to view the information they find in a critical and objective manner in order to decide if it is accurate, valuable, and useful.
That’s where higher order thinking skills (HOTS) comes in. This educational reform is a method that teachers use to help their students understand and master concepts, as well as use critical thinking skills to problem solve. The HOTS concept presumes that some types of learning, such as adeptness at analysis and evaluation, are areas that require higher thinking skills and so require a different system of teaching.
The traditional rote method of teaching does not help students learn critical thinking skills; whereas the HOTS method helps students to learn complex judgmental skills that will be valuable throughout their lives: analysis and objective evaluation of information, objective decision making and logical problem solving.