A higher-order thinker is a critical thinker. What are the attributes of a critical thinker? In The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools, Richard Paul and Linda Elder describe a well-cultivated critical thinker as someone who:
- raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely;
- gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively;
- comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;
- thinks open-mindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing their assumptions, implications and practical consequences as need be; and
- communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems.