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Structure of the Thinking Processes Domain

The Thinking Processes domain is organised into six sections, one for each level of achievement from Level 1 to Level 6. Each level includes a learning focus statement and, from Level 3, a set of standards organised by dimension.

Learning focus

Learning focus statements are written for each level. These outline the learning that students need to focus on if they are to progress in the domain and achieve the standards at the levels where they apply. They suggest appropriate learning experiences from which teachers can draw to develop relevant teaching and learning activities.


Standards define what students should know and be able to do at different levels and are written for each dimension. In Thinking Processes, standards for assessing and reporting on student achievement apply from Level 3.


Standards in the Thinking Processes domain are organised in three dimensions:

Reasoning, processing and inquiry

The Reasoning, processing and inquiry dimension encompasses the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to enable students to inquire into the world around them, and to use critical thinking to analyse and evaluate information they encounter. Students learn to assemble and question information and develop opinions based on informed judgments. They also develop the capacity to transform information into coherent knowledge structures.


The capacity to think creatively is a central component of being able to solve problems and be innovative. In the Creativity dimension, students learn to seek innovative alternatives and use their imagination to generate possibilities. They learn to take risks with their thinking and make new connections.

Reflection, evaluation and metacognition

Learning is enhanced when individuals develop the capacity to reflect on, and refine their existing ideas and beliefs. In the Reflection, evaluation and metacognition dimension, students learn to reflect on what they know and develop awareness that there is more to know. They learn to question their perspectives and those of others. They evaluate the validity of their own and others’ ideas. They also develop their metacognitive skills in planning, monitoring and evaluating their own thinking processes and strategies.

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