One recurring recommendation in the resources is that we should consider Bloom’s Taxonomy when designing tests. To do so, we should know what it is.
The triangle above is a version of the revised Bloom’s, using active verbs and with an addition of one level and a slight reordering at the top.
According to http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/4719,
Bloom’s Taxonomy was created in 1948 by psychologist Benjamin Bloom and several colleagues. Originally developed as a method of classifying educational goals for student performance evaluation, Bloom’s Taxonomy has been revised over the years and is still utilized in education today.
The original intent in creating the taxonomy was to focus on three major domains of learning: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. The cognitive domain covered “the recall or recognition of knowledge and the development of intellectual abilities and skills”; the affective domain covered “changes in interest, attitudes, and values, and the development of appreciations and adequate adjustment”; and the psychomotor domain encompassed “the manipulative or motor-skill area.” Despite the creators’ intent to address all three domains, Bloom’s Taxonomy applies only to acquiring knowledge in the cognitive domain, which involves intellectual skill development.
The site goes on to say:
Bloom’s Taxonomy can be used across grade levels and content areas. By using Bloom’s Taxonomy in the classroom, teachers can assess students on multiple learning outcomes that are aligned to local, state, and national standards and objectives. Within each level of the taxonomy, there are various tasks that move students through the thought process. This interactive activity demonstrates how all levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy can be achieved with one image.
Further, http://www.edpsycinteractive.org/topics/cognition/bloom.html tells us,
The major idea of the taxonomy is that what educators want students to know (encompassed in statements of educational objectives) can be arranged in a hierarchy from less to more complex. The levels are understood to be successive, so that one level must be mastered before the next level can be reached.
In any case it is clear that students can “know” about a topic or subject in different ways and at different levels. While most teacher-made tests still test at the lower levels of the taxonomy, research has shown that students remember more when they have learned to handle the topic at the higher levels of the taxonomy (Garavalia, Hummel, Wiley, & Huitt, 1999).
Let’s see what each level represents. The following list is based on the original Bloom’s categories but it is still enlightening.
Table 2.2 Bloom’s taxonomy and question categories
Competence Skills demonstrated
Knowledge Recall of information
Knowledge of facts, dates, events, places
Comprehension Interpretation of information in one’s own words
Application Application of methods, theories, concepts to new situations
Analysis Identification of patterns
Recognition of components and their relationships
Synthesis Generalize from given knowledge
Use old ideas to create new ones
Organize and relate knowledge from several areas
Draw conclusions, predict
Evaluation Make judgments
Assess value of ideas, theories
Compare and discriminate between ideas
Based on the work by Benjamin B.S. Bloom et. al. Evaluation to Improve Learning (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1981)
We will look at these in more detail in the next post.