Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 14. Number 3 September 2023                         Pp.389-405

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Insights into Chinese College English Undergraduates’ Higher Order Thinking Skills

 Yue Yin
Language Academy, Faculty of Human Science and Humanities,
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor, Malaysia
School of Foreign Languages for International Business
Hebei Finance University, Hebei, China
Corresponding Author:

 Norhanim Abdul Samat
Language Academy, Faculty of Human Science and Humanities,
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor, Malaysia


Received:06/21/2023         Accepted:09/14/2023                 Published: 09/24/2023


In recent years, educational institutions, administrators, and college EFL teachers in China have advocated for increased emphasis on fostering English undergraduates’ higher-order thinking skills. The relevant studies are widely limited in theoretical approaches without extensive empirical examination of Chinese English undergraduates’ higher-order thinking. Therefore, it is significant to conduct empirical research to explore English undergraduates’ higher-order thinking attitudes and skills separately. This study also assesses their correlation and the impact of different learning stages and language proficiencies on these aspects. By doing this, the study holds substantial significance for empirical inquiries into the characteristics of English undergraduates’ HOTS, serving as the reference for Chinese EFL teachers to implement higher-order thinking instructions. A quantitative design of questionnaires and tests was employed on a sample of 240 Chinese-English undergraduates from Hebei Finance University. The data analysis contained descriptive statistical analysis, independent-sample T-test, one-way ANOVA, and Pearson correlation analysis. The findings show that although the responding participants have relatively positive attitudes toward higher-order thinking skills, they exhibit variations in their ability to utilize them. Differences in learning stages and language proficiency do not significantly influence the development of the respondents’ higher-order thinking skills. There is no significant correlation between higher-order thinking attitudes and skills among the participants, indicating that having a positive inclination to higher-order thinking differs from having the skills to think.
Keywords: Chinese English undergraduates, critical thinking, higher order thinking, higher order thinking attitude,
higher order thinking skills, learning stages and language proficiency

Cite as: Yin, Y., & Abdul Samat, N. (2023). Insights into Chinese College English Undergraduates’ Higher Order Thinking Skills. Arab World English Journal, 14 (3) 389-405.


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Received: 06/21/2023
Accepted: 09/14/2023 
Published: 09/24/2023

Yue Yin is a current Ph.D. student at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. She is also a faculty member of Hebei Finance University in China. Her areas of expertise are English Teaching in the EFL classroom, Higher-order thinking in EFL classrooms, Translation theories and interpreting. ORCid ID:

 Dr. Norhanim Abdul Samat is a teacher trainer attached to the University Teknologi Malaysia. She had her doctorate in process drama from the University of Waikato, New Zealand. Her areas of expertise are Applied Literature in the ELT classroom, Process Drama, Drama Education, Communication and Language Arts Education, Student Development and Community Learning. ORCid ID: