When I first started considering Bloom’s Taxonomy, I thought it was good to help expand my ideas on how to test but I struggled with applying it directly. I appreciated the increasing cognitive levels but needed help in writing test questions that utilized them.
What I found were lists of verbs associated with each level. A good one to start with is:
A table of suggested verbs mapped against the Anderson and Krathwohl adapted levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Cognition Cognitive Level Verb Examples
- Remember: define, repeat, record, list, recall, name, relate, underline.
- Understand: translate, restate, discuss, describe, recognise, explain, express, identify, locate, report, review, tell.
- Apply: interpret, apply, employ, use, demonstrate, dramatise, practice, illustrate, operate, schedule, sketch.
- Analyse: distinguish, analyse, differentiate, appraise, calculate, experiment, test, compare, contrast, criticise, diagram, inspect, debate, question, relate, solve, examine, categorise.
- Evaluate: judge, appraise, evaluate, rate, compare, revise, assess, estimate
- Create: compose, plan, propose, design, formulate, arrange, assemble, collect, construct, create, set-up, organise, manage, prepare.
Here is an extensive list that is printable on one page, useful for reference while you are designing your test:
Other useful lists:
Bloom’s Question Frames (looks very good for English, literature, history, etc.) This gives you nearly complete questions which you can manipulate into test items appropriate to your discipline.
More Bloom’s Question Frames (2 pages).
What comes across to me again and again throughout the sources is that considering the hierarchy when designing exams creates a culture of learning that involves thinking deeply about the course material, taking it beyond simple rote memorization and recitation.
This culture would benefit from also considering Bloom’s while you are teaching. Modeling higher level thought processes, showing joy at cognitive challenges, exploring topics in depth (if time permits) or mentioning the depth exists (if time is short) can send a strong signal that thinking is valued and important to learning.
Another view on Bloom’s as applied to test writing is to consider the knowledge domains inherent in your course material. They are:
The kinds of knowledge that can be tested
Terminology, Facts, Figures
Classification, Principles, Theories, Structures, Frameworks
Algorithms, Techniques and Methods and Knowing when and how to use them.
Strategy, Overview, Self Knowledge, Knowing how you know.
When I put this list with the verbs lists, I get more ideas for test questions and directions for exploring student acquisition of the course knowledge.