Benjamin Bloom devised a way to categorize reasoning skills based on the amount of critical thinking and reasoning involved. With Bloom's Taxonomy, there are six levels of skills ranked in order from the most basic to the most complex. As teachers we should ensure that questions we ask both in class and on written assignments and tests are pulled from all levels of the taxonomy pyramid. Unfortunately, many tests tend to focus only on the two lowest levels: Knowledge and Comprehension. The following list was created as an aid for teachers as they create questions for their lessons. It provides question stems and gives examples from across the curriculum for each level.
The Knowledge level forms the base of the Bloom's Taxonomy pyramid. Because it is of the lowest complexity, many of the verbs are themselves question stems as can be seen with the list below. Teachers can use these level of questions to ensure that specific information was learned by the student from the lesson.
Example: Define mercantilism.
Example: Who was the author of Billy Budd.
Example: What is the capital of England?
Example: Name the inventor of the telephone.
Example: List the thirteen colonies.
Example: Label the capitals on this map of the United States.
Example: Locate the glossary in your textbook.
Example: Match the following inventors with their inventions.
Example: Select the correct author of War and Peace from the following list.
Example: Underline the noun.
At the Comprehension level, we want students to show that they can go beyond basic recall by understanding what those facts mean. Example question:
At the Application level, students must show that they can apply the information that they have learned. Ways that they can do this include solving problems and creating projects.
Example: Using the information you have learned about mixed numbers, solve the following questions.
Example: Use Newton's Laws of Motion to explain how a model rocket works.
Example: Predict whether items float better in fresh water or salt water.
Example: Using the information you have learned about aerodynamics, construct a paper airplane that minimizes drag.
Example: Create and perform a skit which dramatizes an event from the Civil Rights era.
Example: Demonstrate how changing the location of the fulcrum affects a tabletop lever.
Example: Classify each observed mineral based on the criteria learned in class.
Example: Apply the rule of 70 to determine how quickly $1000 would double if earning 5% interest.
The fourth level of Bloom's Taxonomy is Analysis. Here students find patterns in what they learn. They move beyond simply understanding and applying knowledge. Instead, they begin to have a more active role in their own learning. Example question: Illustrate the difference between a moth and a butterfly.
- Example: What is the function of the liver in the body.
- Example: What is the main idea of the story "The Tell-Tale Heart."
- Example: What assumptions do we have to make when discussing Einstein's Theory of Relativity?
Example: Analyze President Lincoln's motives for delivering the Gettysburg Address.
Example: Identify any biases that might exist when reading an autobiography.
Example: Examine the results of your experiment and record your conclusions.
Example: Investigate the propaganda techniques used in each of the following advertisements.
Example: Identify the point of view of each of the main characters in Hamlet.
At the synthesis level, students move beyond relying on previously learned information or analyzing items that the teacher is giving to them. Instead, they move beyond what they have learned to create new products, ideas, and theories.
Example: Create a haiku about a desert animal.
Example: Invent a new board game about Industrial Revolution inventors.
Example: Compose a new piece of music that includes chords in the key of C Major.
Example: Propose an alternative way to get students to clean up after themselves in the lunchroom.
Example: Plan an alternative meal to serve vegetarians during Thanksgiving.
Example: Design a campaign to help stop teenage smoking.
Example: Formulate a bill that you would like to see passed through Congress.
Example: Develop an idea for a science fair project that focuses on the effect of pollution on plant life.
Evaluation means that students make judgments based on the information they have learned and their own insights. This is often the hardest question to create, especially for an end-of-the unit exam. Example question: Evaluate the accuracy of the Disney movie Pocahontas
Example: Evaluate the accuracy of the movie The Patriot.
Find the errors in the following math problem.
Example: Select the most appropriate action that you should take against a school bully. Justify your answer.
Example: Decide on a meal plan for the next week that includes all the required servings according to the Food Guide Pyramid.
Example: Are the arts an important part of a school's curriculum? Justify your answer.
Example: Debate the pros and cons of school vouchers.
Example: Judge the importance of students reading a play by Shakespeare while in high school.