Bloom’s Taxonomy

Bloom’s Taxonomy provides a useful framework for organising learning objectives into multiple levels of difficulty and complexity. It can be used as a tool which enables educators to consider a wide range of learning objectives, and ensure that a variety of higher and lower order thinking skills are addressed. This increases the validity of assessment procedures and focuses the learning process.

Bloom’s Taxonomy cannot be considered as a hierarchy, per se, since it provides a means of classifying learning objectives and assessment tasks. In addition to this, complex tasks may consist of several thinking skills, in which case individual learning tasks and assessments may employ more than one taxonomy category. Nitko and Brookhart (2007) briefly discuss the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy, stating that it is composed of two main scopes: the Knowledge Dimension and the Cognitive Process Dimension. The Knowledge Dimension consists of Factual, Conceptual, Procedural, and Metacognitive Knowledge. The cognitive process dimension can be summarised by the following activities: Remember, Understand, Apply, Analyse, and Create. An educator can employ tasks such as true and false questions, short answers, and multiple-choice questions in order to use Remember, Understand, and Apply. Essays, projects, and portfolios can be used to demonstrate Analyse, Evaluate, and Create (26). It is valuable to consider these different skills and types of knowledge when building learning objectives, considering instruction methods, and constructing assessments. It can aid in ensuring that the teaching and learning process is holistic and multidimensional. Although it should not be considered as a hierarchy, Bloom’s Taxonomy can be used to scaffold learning, which can help both teacher and student alike.

It is important to ensure multiple layers of learning are addressed. One of the subjects I teach is English for Academic Purposes in which second language speakers learn the skills they need to participate at a tertiary academic level. It is important that these students develop the ability to read, research, write, and follow lectures. The Cognitive Process dimension of Bloom’s Taxonomy provides me with a solid framework on which to build my lessons. When I teach reading skills, I use a combination of Understand, Apply, Analyse, and Create activities. My students read an article about a specific topic, and then answer true and false questions, multiple choice questions, and short answer questions, to establish whether they have correctly understood what they have read. Then, they are required to Create a response in the form of a short essay, speech, or dialogue in which they Analyse the topic and Apply what they read.

Bloom’s Taxonomy is a valuable aid that assists in classifying learning objectives and assessment tasks and ensuring that multiple abilities and skills are employed in the teaching and learning process. One of the main strengths of using Bloom’s Taxonomy is creating multi-layered material, lessons, and assessments that can challenge students on different levels.

Reference
Nitko, AJ and Brookhart SM. (2011). Educational assessment of students (Kindle version). Available from Amazon.com.

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