As an instructional designer and educator, understanding and using Bloom’s revised taxonomy is crucial to creating significant learning experiences. An important part of the course design process is aligning the Bloom’s levels with the topic. If you’re teaching spelling, then the majority of learning will be in the lower levels. The intended outcome is to have a student know the facts: how to spell cat, or dog, or even taxonomy. At this level, you would use a very simple assessment tool.
“Take out your paper…number from 1-20…#1 – spell the word CAT.”
However, if you’re teaching a college level philosophy class, your focus is on the higher order levels. Assessing the student’s learning requires more than a simple test that is focused on recalling facts. Unlike a spelling test, a philosophy assessment might be a critique of Plato’s allegory of the Cave. Now that’s critical thinking! (and possibly a headache from thinking too much)
It’s not always easy to determine the appropriate Bloom’s level for the learning outcome. When I work with an instructor, I find it helpful to use a simple explanation of each Bloom’s level. This allows the instructor to evaluate the content and decide if the level is appropriate.
Level 1: Remember
This level helps us recall foundational information and/or facts: names, dates, formulas, and definitions.
Level 2: Understand
Understanding means that we can explain the main ideas and concepts of a topic, and translate that into meaning by interpreting, classifying, summarizing, inferring, comparing, and explaining.
Level 3: Apply
Application allows us to recognize and use the concepts in real-world situations as well as when, where, or how to employ methods and ideas.
Level 4: Analyze
Analysis means breaking a topic or idea into components or examining a subject from different perspectives. It helps us see how the “whole” is created from the “parts.” Analysis helps reveal the connections between facts.
Level 5: Synthesize
Synthesizing means considering individual elements together for the purpose of drawing conclusions, identifying themes, or determining common elements. Here you want to shift from “parts” to “whole.”
Level 6: Evaluate
Evaluating means making judgments about something based on criteria and standards. This requires checking and critiquing an argument or concept to form an opinion about its value. Often there is not a clear or correct answer to this type of question. Rather, it’s about making a judgment and supporting it with reasons and evidence.
Level 7: Create
Creating involves putting elements together to form a coherent or functional whole. Creating includes reorganizing elements into a new pattern or structure through planning. This is the highest and most advanced level of Bloom’s Taxonomy.*
Anderson, L. W., Krathwohl, D.R., Airasian, P.W., Cruikshank, K.A., Mayer, R.E., Pintrich, P.R., Wittrock, M.C (2001). A taxonomy of learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. New York, NY: Longman.