The development of students’ deep conceptual understanding and higher-order cognitive skills (HOCS) in the context of both the specific content and processes of the science disciplines and the interrelationships of science, technology, environment, and society has become one of the most important goals of contemporary chemistry and science education. However, these distinctions and skills are rarely actually pursued in chemistry teaching. Any progress towards the attainment of these goals requires the application of new teaching and assessment strategies. Examinations as well as other assessment means, must not only be consonant with these goals, but also to meaningfully foster and contribute to their attainment. The crucial issue is how to translate the above into manageable and effective alternative courses and valid HOCS-promoting examinations, the essence of which is the shift from the dominant algorithmic lower-order cognitive skills (LOCS) to the HOCS orientation in chemistry education. With a longitudinal research and teaching program, aiming at the development of students’ HOCS, we have developed, implemented and field-tested innovative/alternative assessment methodologies and examination types within chemistry teaching. Selected alternatives (to the existing) assessment means are described and, based on adjunct active research findings, their contribution to the development of students’ HOCS in the chemical education context is critically discussed. [Chem. Educ. Res. Pract. Eur.: 2001, 2, 9-17]
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