Assessing Student Learning at the End of the Semester: Bloom's Taxonomy
The semester is winding down and many of you are writing final exams or fine-tuning the instructions for final assignments. What do you most hope your students have learned or are now able to do as a result of taking your course? Articulating answers to this question enables you to construct your final exams and assignments with your expectations for student learning in mind.
As you consider your goals for your students’ learning, and how to best measure student performance in these areas, it should be helpful to consider “Bloom’s Taxonomy,” a hierarchical classification of cognitive skills and capabilities. Ideally, you will articulate goals and design opportunities for students to demonstrate that they’ve learned skills and tasks from each category, but with an emphasis on the higher order cognitive tasks. Thus, while you might test knowledge (level one) with an identification section of the exam, you might also ascertain whether your students can complete a writing assignment or solve a problem that requires that they synthesize elements they have learned in different parts of the course (level five).
We reproduce here the taxonomy as it is presented by the National Teaching & Learning Forum, with sample verbs and a sample question or assignment for each level. (www.ntlf.com/html/lib/suppmat/84taxonomy.htm)
Bloom’s Taxonomy (1956)
I. Knowledge. Remembering information
Define, identify, label, state, list, match
II. Comprehension. Explaining the meaning of information
Describe, generalize, paraphrase, summarize, estimate
Determine, chart, implement, prepare, solve, use, develop
Points out, differentiate, distinguish, discriminate, compare
Create, design, plan, organize, generate, write
Appraise, critique, judge, weigh, evaluate, select
Bloom, B., Englehart, M., Furst, E., Hill, W., & Krathwohl, D. (1956) Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals. Handbook I: Cognitive domain. New York, Toronto: Longmans, Green.
The National Teaching & Learning Forum,The Six Major Levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy of the the Cognitive Domain (with representative behaviors and sample objectives) http://www.ntlf.com/html/lib/suppmat/84taxonomy.htm