Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives

CTRL Blooms Taxonomy

What is Bloom’s Taxonomy? 

Bloom’s Taxonomy is a hierarchical model of cognitive skills used to classify educational learning objectives. Bloom’s taxonomy is a helpful tool for the development of learning outcomes. Clear, specific objectives enable students to direct their learning efforts and monitor their progressThe process outlined in the taxonomy also provides a scaffolding around which instructors can design their course to ensure that instructional activities and assessments are always in alignment with learning outcomes. For more on learning outcomes and their role in course design, access CTRL’s guide on how to identify learning outcomes.  

How was Bloom’s Taxonomy developed? 

Originally published in 1956, the construct is named after Benjamin Bloom who chaired the committee of college and university researchers that developed the projectThe taxonomy was intended to serve as a framework to help instructors, administrators, and researchers resolve curricular and evaluation problems (Bloom et al., 1956). The original six levels of thinking, from lower to higher-order thinking skills, consisted of knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. 

In 2001 a group of cognitive psychologists, educatorsresearchers, and curriculum specialists constructed a revised taxonomy titled A Taxonomy for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001). This model refocused attention from Bloom’s “educational objectives” toward a more dynamic conception of classification that used verbs and gerunds rather than nouns to label their categoriesIn the revised construct, the six categories detail the process by which learners encounter and work with knowledge: remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating. The following table outlines these six levels and the common verbs used to describe them.

Level  Definition  Student Activity  Types of Questions to Ask 
Remember  Retrieve, recall, or recognize relevant knowledge from long-term memory  List the countries in Africa, match elements with their symbol, define capitalism  Who? What? Where? When? Why? Which one? How much? 
Understand  Demonstrate comprehension through one or more forms of explanation  Describe the characteristics of a paintingoutline the arguments for and against year-round educationtranslate a passage into English  Describe it. Explain in your own words. What does this mean? Give an example. What is the author saying? Show in a graph or table. 
Apply  Use information or a skill in a new situation  Calculate the kinetic energy of a projectile, classify minerals based on the material learned in class, predict whether items float better in freshwater or saltwater  How would you/could you? How does? What would happen if? Judge the effects of. How much change there would be? 
Analyze  Break material into its constituent parts and determine how the parts relate to one another and/or to an overall structure or purpose  Contrast the causes of World War I and World War IIdeconstruct the argument in a persuasive essay, examine the results of an experiment to support a conclusion  Why did the authors write these poems? What situations exist during times of war? If this, then that. Compare and contrast. What is fact? What is opinion? What is the motive? The result? The premise? What is the main idea? 
Evaluate  Make judgments based on evidence or criteria  Evaluate a work of art, edit a paper, judge the merits of a technique  Which is more important? Logical? Ethical? Find the mistakes in. What are the inconsistencies? Do you agree? What is the next step? 
Create  Put elements together to form a new coherent or functional whole; reorganize elements into a new pattern or structure  Write an article, code a program, compose a poem, design a controlled experiment  What facts can you gather? Can you propose an alternative? How would you improve? How would you test? What changes would you make to solve? Can you formulate a theory for? 


Anderson, L., & Krathwohl, D. (Eds.). (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing:  A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. Longman. 

Bloom, B.Engelhart, M., Furst, E., Hill, W., & Krathwohl, D. (Eds.). (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals. David McKay Company,  Inc.