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What is Bloom’s Taxonomy?

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In 1956, Benjamin Bloom and his collaborators Max Englehart, Edward Furst, Walter Hill and David Krathwohl published a classification to categorize educational objectives: Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. It is known as Bloom’s Taxonomy. This classification has been applied by generations of teachers from kindergarten through high school and by university professors.

The schema developed by Bloom and his collaborators has six main categories: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation. The categories after “knowledge” were presented as skills and abilities since knowledge was considered to be the prerequisite for practicing these skills.

Although each category contains sub-categories, the main taxonomy retainers are the 6 skills listed above.

What is Bloom’s Taxonomy?

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Bloom’s taxonomy was developed to provide a common language for teachers to discuss and exchange about assessment learning methods. Specific learning outcomes can be derived from the taxonomy but it is used more to assess learning around cognitive levels. The table below defines each cognitive level, from higher thinking to lower thinking.

The goal of an educator using Bloom’s Taxonomy is to encourage higher thinking in their students from lower level cognitive skills. Behavioral and cognitive learning outcomes are given to highlight how Bloom’s taxonomy can be incorporated into larger scale educational goals or guidelines. Key phrases can be used (eg, example assessments) to prompt the acquisition of these skills during the assessment process.

The 6 levels of Bloom’s taxonomy

What is Bloom's Taxonomy

Benjamin Bloom identified six levels in the cognitive domain, from simple recall to fact recognition, passing through increasingly complex and abstract mental levels, up to the highest order which is evaluation.

1. Knowledge 

It is the act of remembering previously learned material. This may involve recalling a wide range of material, ranging from specific facts to complex theories. The main thing is to remember information. Knowledge represents the lowest level of learning outcomes in the cognitive domain. 

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Action verbs: arrange, define, duplicate, label, enumerate, memorize, name, order, recognize, link, recall, repeat, reproduce.

2. Understanding 

Comprehension is the ability to grasp the meaning of a document. This can manifest itself in translating a document from one form to another (from words to numbers), in interpreting a document (explaining or summarizing) and in estimating future trends (predicting consequences or effects). These learning outcomes go slightly beyond simple memorization of material and represent the lowest level of understanding.

Action verbs: classify, describe, discuss, explain, express, identify, indicate, locate, recognize, report, reformulate, review, select, translate.

3. The app 

It refers to the ability to use the material learned in new and concrete situations. This may include applying things like rules, methods, concepts, principles, laws, and theories. The learning outcomes in this area require a higher level of understanding than those for the competency “understanding”.

Verbs of action: apply, choose, demonstrate, dramatize, employ, illustrate, interpret, operate, practice, program, sketch, solve, use, write.

4. Analysis 

It is the ability to break down a material into its constituent parts in order to understand its organizational structure. This may include identifying the parties, analyzing the relationships between the parties, and recognizing the organizational principles involved. Learning outcomes here represent a higher intellectual level than comprehension and application, as they require an understanding of both the content and the structural form of the material.

Action verbs: analyze, evaluate, calculate, categorize, compare, contrast, criticize, differentiate, discriminate, distinguish, examine, experiment, question, test.

 

5. Synthesis 

It refers to the ability to put parts together to form a new whole. This may involve producing a single communication (theme or discourse), a plan of operations (research proposal), or a set of abstract relationships (information classification scheme). Learning outcomes in this area emphasize creative behaviors, with a major focus on formulating new patterns or structures.

Verbs of action: arrange, assemble, collect, compose, build, create, design, develop, formulate, manage, organize, plan, prepare, propose, implement, write.

6. Evaluation 

It concerns the ability to judge the value of a material (statement, novel, poem, research report) for a given purpose. Judgments are based on specific criteria. These may be internal criteria such as the organization or external (relevance to the objective). The student can then determine the criteria or be assigned them. Learning outcomes in this domain sit at the top of the cognitive hierarchy because they contain elements from all the other categories. There are, in addition, conscious value judgments based on clearly defined criteria.

Verbs of action: appreciate, argue, evaluate, attach, choose, compare, defend, estimate, judge, predict, estimate, select, support, value, evaluate.

Bloom’s Taxonomy Revised

Although it was revised annually for 16 years after it was first published, Bloom’s Taxonomy underwent a major overhaul in 2001. A more dynamic language replaced the original, static, and educational objective levels. unidimensional, providing learners with clearer goals of what is expected of them.

Bloom’s original taxonomyRevised Bloom’s Taxonomy 
KnowledgeRemember
UnderstandingTo understand
ApplicationApply
To analyseAnalyze
SynthesisAssess
EvaluationCreate

The classification of Bloom’s taxonomy of instructional objectives remains valid in all learning environments because it allows you to create achievable goals and develop a definite plan to achieve these skills.

Why use Bloom’s taxonomy?

The creators of the revised taxonomy offer a multi-level answer to this question, to which we have added some clarifications:

 

  • It is important to establish educational objectives during an educational exchange so that teachers and students understand the purpose of the exchange.
  • Organizing goals helps clarify goals for themselves and for students.
  • Having an organized set of objectives helps teachers to:
    • “Planning and delivering appropriate instruction”;
    • “Designing Assessment Tasks and Strategies”
    • “Ensure that teaching and assessment are consistent with the objectives”

How to use Bloom’s taxonomy?

Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives is a framework for organizing content into a well-defined structure. For example, languages ​​can be categorized as Romance, Germanic etc, based on their etymology and grammatical structure.

Bloom’s taxonomy primarily provides teachers with a point of reference to develop the learning outcomes of their courses. 

There are reasons why a teacher would want to use Bloom’s taxonomy. First, it improves their understanding of the educational process. Indeed, teachers can see and understand complex cognitive development and how lower skills integrate with higher thinking. For example, remembering facts and understanding past problems allows a student to apply experience to similar problems.

This understanding makes it easier to prioritize materials and can guide the organization of lessons to maximize class time. For example, lower level skills like memorizing factual knowledge can be developed before higher level skills like relationship analysis are introduced. Today’s teachers are often faced with a confusing array of curriculum standards and requirements. Thus, the taxonomy offers a guiding framework for breaking down these criteria into accessible chunks that can be used to guide daily lesson plans. It also allows students to compare their own goals.

Conclusion

Just as different levels require different teaching methods , they also require different assessment methods . Indeed, Bloom’s taxonomy can be used as a checklist to ensure that all levels of a domain have been assessed and to align assessment methods. Thus, the taxonomy also makes it easier to maintain consistency between assessment methods, content and teaching materials. It also helps to identify weak points.

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