Critical Thinking Skills Infused in Upper Primary Science Textbooks in Malaysia

Mohammed Mai, Muhammed Yusuf, Nurul Ain Hidayah Abas


The purpose of this study is to determine the infusion of critical thinking skills (Attributing, Comparing and Contrast, Grouping and Classifying, Sequencing, Prioritizing, Analyzing, Detecting Bias, Evaluation, and Making Conclusions) in the Malaysian upper primary science textbooks (grade 4-6) that were implemented by the Ministry of Education in Malaysia. The researchers used the descriptive-analytical approach to analyze the content using the content analysis tool that includes critical thinking skill items and considered text, picture, and activities as analysis units. Units from 4-6 grades Malaysian science textbooks are randomly selected as the research sample. Two science teachers conducted the content analysis, a high level of reliability and validity of analysis verified using Cohen’s kappa gets a value of 0.85. The findings revealed that the science textbook does not prioritize, evaluate, and detect bias thinking skills. The most frequent critical thinking skills are attributing, analyzing, grouping and classifying, and sequencing gradually. Most of the skills have been in the text, the picture, and finally, the activities. The results reveal that the current upper primary science textbooks in Malaysia are not including all the critical thinking skills equally as determined in the Conceptual Framework of Science Curriculum; therefore, the curriculum developers and teachers need to rethink about giving more attention to infusing thinking skills in the science content, and during the teaching and learning process. Most of the previous studies aimed at measuring students' thinking skills, but they neglected to ensure their availability in the textbook. This study emphasizes the importance of analyzing the textbook content to ensure the presence of thinking skills, which may be the main reason students do not have the necessary thinking skills.


Keywords: science textbooks, critical thinking skills, content analysis.

Full Text:



ALDOSSARI, A.T., AL KHALDI, J.K., & ALTARAWNEH, M.H. (2016). Content Analysis of Science Books for Upper Primary Stage in Jordan and Intermediate Stage in Saudi Arabia from an Islamic Perspective: Analytical Comparative Study. Journal of Education and Practice, 7(30), 60–69. Retrieved from

AL-HUDAWI, S., FONG, R.L.S., MOHAMMED MUSAH, A., & TAHIR, L.M. (2014). The Actualization of the Malaysian National Education Philosophy in Secondary Schools: Student and Teacher Perspectives. International Education Studies, 7(4), 57-68.

ASLAN, C., & POLAT, D. (2008). Content Analysis on Primary Education Turkish Course Books from the Point of Acquiring Critical Thinking Skills. In PAPANIKOS, G.T. (ed.) Issues on Education and Research, Vol. 1. Athens: Athens Institute for Education and Research, pp. 147-160.

BILGISI, F., & DALI, A. (2014). Milli Eğitim Bakanlığı (MEB) İlköğretim 6. Sınıf Fen Bilgisi Ders Kitabının Bilimsel Süreç Becerileri Yönünden Değerlendirilmesi. Milli Eğitim Bakanlığı (MEB) İlköğretim 6. Sınıf Fen Bilgisi Ders Kitabının Bilimsel Süreç Becerileri Yönünden Değerlendirilmesi, 4(1), 7–17.

EASTERBROOKS, S.R., & SCHEETZ, N.A. (2004). Applying Critical Thinking Skills to Character Education and Values Clarification With Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. American Annals of the Deaf, 149(3), 255–263.

HASSARD, J. (2005). The Art of Teaching Science. New York: Oxford University Press.

HOWES, E.V. (2002). Learning to teach science for all in the elementary grades: What do preservice teachers bring? Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 39(9), 845–869.

JARVIS, P. (2006). The Theory and Practice of Teaching. 2nd ed. Routledge.

KRIPPENDORFF, K. (1980). Content Analysis: An Introduction to Its Methodology. Newbury Park, California: Sage.

KRIPPENDORFF, K. (2004). Content Analysis: An Introduction to Its Methodology. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.

KRISWANTORO, KARTOWAGIRAN, B., & ROHAETI, E. (2021). A critical thinking assessment model integrated with science process skills on chemistry for senior high school. European Journal of Educational Research, 10(1), 285–298.

LAI, E.R. (2011). Critical thinking: A literature review. Pearson. Retrieved from

LEWIS, R.A. (2012). A Content Analysis of Inquiry in Third Grade Science Textbooks. Provo: Brigham Young University. Retrieved from

LING, A.Y.J. (1999). Primary Science Curriculum Implementation in Malaysia: Inquiry as Hope and Practice. Palmerston North: Massey University.

MARTIN, M.O., MULLIS, I.V.S., FOY, P., & STANCO, G.M. (2012). TIMSS 2011 International Results in Science. International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement. Retrieved from

MINISTRY OF EDUCATION MALAYSIA. (2002). Integrated Curriculum for Secondary Schools. Curriculum Development Centre.

PURNOMO, A., WASINO, ASTUTI, T.M.P., & SUYAHMO. (2020). Strengthening Students' Critical Knowledge of Controversial Issues in Social Studies Classroom. Journal of Southwest Jiaotong University, 55(5).

PUTRA, N.S., & SUPARMAN. (2021). Problem-Based Learning: Its Effect on Students’ Critical Thinking Abilities in Mathematics and Sciences Learning: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Hunan University Natural Sciences, 48(8), 163-171. Retrieved from

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL. (2007). Taking Science to School: Learning and Teaching Science in Grades K-8. Washington, District of Columbia: The National Academies Press.

THOMPSON, C. (2011). Critical Thinking across the Curriculum: Process over Output. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 1(9), 1-7. Retrieved from

WILLIAMS, T.M. (1993). What is critical? International Journal of Project Management, 11(4), 197-200.

YAGER, E.R. (1993). Science-Technology-Society As Reform. School Science and Mathematics, 93(3), 145-151.

ZULKPLI, Z., ABDULLAH, A.H., KOHAR, U.H.A., & IBRAHIM, N.H. (2017). A review research on infusion approach in teaching thinking: Advantages and impacts. Man in India, 97(12), 289–298.


  • There are currently no refbacks.