In 1956, educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom and his associates conceptualized a taxonomy to classify aspects of human learning that included three basic domains: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. The cognitive domain of this taxonomy represents a continuum of thinking that can be useful for teachers as they develop curricula for students, but also for students as they try to determine what a professor may be asking them to do on a particular test question or writing assignment. Bloom’s Taxonomy can also help students challenge themselves as they are creating active learning study strategies and/ or developing questions for self-testing for an exam. In addition, once students have taken an exam in a particular course, conducting a post-test review of the levels of thinking required by exam questions will provide clues regarding how to effectively study for future exams.
|Level of Cognitive Domain||Thinking Level||Generic Activity||Question Cues||Sample Questions||Example Activities of Products|
|Remembering||Basic thinking (lowest level)||Recalls facts, patterns, settings, etc.; remembers previously learned material||Cite, label, name, list, state, quote, reproduce, define, identify, describe (who, what, where, when)||Who is…?
|List items. Make a timeline. Recite a passage. List certain memorized facts.|
|Understanding||Basic thinking||Understands what is being communicated; grasps the meaning of material and can state in own words; can infer causes and predict consequences||Explain, restate, paraphrase, summarize, describe, illustrate, give examples, discuss, distinguish, interpret||How would you put this into your own words?
What is an example of _____?
How would you translate ____ to a visual form?
What was the main idea?
|Create a flowchart to illustrate the sequence of events. Retell the story in your words. Write a summary.|
|Applying||Higher-level thinking||Uses the information in new concrete situations||Apply, classify, solve, demonstrate, calculate, illustrate (how it looks in a new situation), complete, employ||Can you apply this idea to your own life?
Can you come up with another example?
What does “x” equal in this case?
|Use this method to apply to a new case study. Solve different types of math problems.|
|Analyzing||Higher-level thinking||Breaks new information into parts to understand relationships; sees patterns and organizational structure||Diagram, analyze, diagnose, conclude, outline, separate, explain(relationships), infer, find, classify, discriminate, compare, contrast, why||Why did this happen? What were some of the motives behind _____?
What was the problem with _____?
Why did ____ changes occur? Can you explain what happened when _____?
What difference exists between ____ and ____?
|Construct a diagram that shows the relationships between the parts. Research the issue to find information that supports a view. Write a biography.|
|Evaluating||Higher-level thinking||Make judgement of the value of an idea, method, resource, etc.; assess the value of theories, presentations, texts; make choices based on argument; recognize subjectivity||Assess, appraise, critique, judge, weigh, recommend, convince, support, evaluate, rank, decide, select, grade, defend, justify, compare, contrast||Is this a good or bad thing? Can you defend your position on ____?
What do you believe and why?
What would you have done differently?
How effective is ____?
What do you think about ____?
Is this a credible source?
|Debate an issue from multiple perspectives. State your opinion and evidence for your opinion. Prepare a list of criteria used to judge something and apply it.|
|Creating||Higher-level thinking||Creates something new from the elements of the old information; generalizes from given facts; relates knowledge from different areas||Create, design, compose, develop, plan, propose, integrate, invent, generalize, combine, rewrite||What would happen if ____?
How can we improve ____?
Can you design a ___ to accomplish ___?
How can this idea be combined with that idea to develop a better understanding of ____?
How can we solve questions?
|Invent a new machine. Write a story. Compose a new piece of music or work of art. Devise a new way to do something.|
Students who challenge themselves to engage in higher-level thinking such as Applying, Analyzing, Evaluating, and Creating are using what professors on our campus would commonly characterize as “critical thinking.”