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 progress. The 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 project. The 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, educators, researchers, 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 categories. In 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 tableoutlines these six levels and the common verbs used to describe them.
Types of Questions to Ask
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?
Demonstrate comprehension through one or more forms of explanation
Describe the characteristics of apainting, outline the arguments for and against year-round education, translate 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.
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?
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 II, deconstruct 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?
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?
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.