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Lesson 3.2: Bloom’s Taxonomy

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    Mary Forehand (The University of Georgia)

    Bloom’s Taxonomy is a classification system used to define and distinguish different levels of human cognition—i.e., thinking, learning, and understanding.

    File:Benjamin Bloom photo.jpg Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Photograph of Benjamin Bloom (Copyright; Wikimedia Commons CC-BY-SA)




    • Learning, teaching, identifying educational goals, and thinking are all complicated concepts interwoven in an intricate web.


    Discussions during the 1948 Convention of the American Psychological Association led Bloom to spearhead a group of educators who eventually undertook the ambitious task of classifying educational goals and objectives. Their intent was to develop a method of classification for thinking behaviors that were believed to be important in the processes of learning. Eventually, this framework became a taxonomy of three domains:

    • The cognitive – knowledge based domain, consisting of six levels

    affective – attitudinal based domain, consisting of five levels, and

    psychomotor – skills based domain, consisting of six levels.

    While Bloom pushed for the use of the term “taxonomy,” others in the group resisted because of the unfamiliarity of the term within educational circles.

    What is Bloom’s Taxonomy?

    “taxonomy” and “classification” are synonymous helps dispel uneasiness with the term. Bloom’s Taxonomy is a multi-tiered model of classifying thinking according to six cognitive levels of complexity. Throughout the years, the levels have often been depicted as a stairway, leading many teachers to encourage their students to “climb to a higher (level of) thought”.

    Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy (RBT)

    Terminology changes

    Bloom's table Figure \(\PageIndex{2}\): Terminology changes “The graphic is a representation of the NEW verbiage associated with the long familiar Bloom’s Taxonomy. Note the change from Nouns to Verbs [e.g., Application to Applying] to describe the different levels of the taxonomy. Note that the top two levels are essentially exchanged from the Old to the New version.” (Schultz, 2005) (Evaluation moved from the top to Evaluating in the second from the top, Synthesis moved from second on top to the top as Creating.). (Copyright; Lorin Anderson via Carnegie Mellon University)

    • Remembering: Retrieving, recognizing, and recalling relevant knowledge from long-term memory.
    • Understanding: Constructing meaning from oral, written, and graphic messages through interpreting, exemplifying, classifying, summarizing, inferring, comparing, and explaining.
    • Applying: Carrying out or using a procedure through executing, or implementing.
    • Analyzing: Breaking material into constituent parts, determining how the parts relate to one another and to an overall structure or purpose through differentiating, organizing, and attributing.
    • Evaluating: Making judgments based on criteria and standards through checking and critiquing.
    • Creating: Putting elements together to form a coherent or functional whole; reorganizing elements into a new pattern or structure through generating, planning, or producing.
      (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001, pp. 67-68)

    Structural changes

    Bloom's Taxonomy The Cognitive Process and Knowledge Dimension Chart Table \(\PageIndex{1}\): Bloom's Taxonomy. (Dianna Fisher, via Oregon State University, Extended Campus )

    Changes in emphasis

    Why use Bloom’s Taxonomy?

    • Today’s teachers must make tough decisions about how to spend their classroom time. Clear alignment of educational objectives with local, state, and national standards is a necessity.

    How can Bloom’s Taxonomy be used?

    Included is an article entitled, “Using the Revised Taxonomy to Plan and Deliver Team-Taught, Integrated, Thematic Units” (Ferguson, 2002).

    • Remember: Describe where Goldilocks lived.
    • Understand: Summarize what the Goldilocks story was about.
    • Apply: Construct a theory as to why Goldilocks went into the house.
    • Analyze: Differentiate between how Goldilocks reacted and how you would react in each story event.
    • Evaluate: Assess whether or not you think this really happened to Goldilocks.
    • Create: Compose a song, skit, poem, or rap to convey the Goldilocks story in a new form.
      Although this is a very simple example of the application of Bloom’s taxonomy the author is hopeful that it will demonstrate both the ease and the usefulness of the Revised Taxonomy Table.

    Figure \(\PageIndex{3}\): Bloom's Taxonomy. (CC-BY; Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching)



    Bloom’s Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain Explained”

    Extended Campus- Oregon State University has an interactive Bloom’s Taxonomy chart of the six Cognitive Process dimensions (Remember, Understand, Apply, Analyze, Evaluate, and Create) with the four Knowledge Dimensions (defined as Factual, Conceptual, Procedural, and Meta-Cognitive) forming a grid with twenty-four separate cells as represented.

    Printable Taxonomy Table Examples to clearly define the “Essential Question” or lesson objectives.

    Online resources on Bloom’s Taxonomy

    Sample Question Stems Based on Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy

    Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy: Mathematics

    Bloomin Apps”

    Lesson 3.2: Bloom’s Taxonomy is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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