Blooms Taxonomy

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What is Blooms Taxonomy? How does it apply to using higher order questions with differentiated instruction?

Benjamin Bloom was an educational psychologist. He was particularly interested in the cognitive domains. After conducting research on how students think and make meaning, he published the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives in 1956.

This is now called Mastery Learning.

Bloom's Taxonomy for teachers is a method of organizing instruction to allow for more individualized learning.  It also is the foundation for making sure all learners grow, which is crucial to value added scores.  

blooms taxonomy in the classroom


Benjamin Bloom believed that all learners can succeed. They simply need to begin being taught at their level and then rapidly progressed towards higher-order critical thinking skills, often guided through more intensive questioning.

Mastery Learning calls for breaking down skills into subskills, and only proceeding to the next level of the taxonomy upon mastery of the previous skill.



Benjamin Bloom believed that all learners can succeed. They simply need to begin being taught at their level and then rapidly progressed towards higher-order critical thinking skills.

Mastery Learning calls for breaking down skills into subskills, and only proceeding to the next level of Blooms Taxonomy upon mastery of the previous skill.

For mastery to occur, it doesn't mean go slower and give more of the same thing. It means you increase the amount and pace of instruction and change directions for differentiated instruction .

There are three overlapping domains in the taxonomy:
  • Cognitive Learning
  • Affective Learning
  • Psychomotor Learning
Each subsequent level depends on the student's ability to perform at the level or levels that precede it.

The taxonomy is also a component of the Classroom Performance Assessment in the communication and critical thinking domains.

The levels in the taxonomy can be used with either a formative or summative assessment in education.


Three Domains of Blooms Taxonomy

1. Cognitive Learning
This is demonstrated by knowledge recall and the intellectual skills educators are most familiar with: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

Knowledge Comprehension Application Analysis Synthesis Evaluation
Recalling Facts Knowing What It Means Using What Has Been Previously Learned Disassembling Whole to Part Assembling Part to Whole Assessing Value
arrange
define
label
list
order
memorize
classify
describe
explain
review
tell
identify
apply
illustrate
solve
interpret
choose
demonstrate
analyze
compare
contrast
diagram
diagram
sort and label
create
infer
draw conclusions
formulate
assess
predict
criticize
rate
judge
support


2. Affective Learning
Demonstrated by behaviors that indicate attitudes of awareness, interest, attention, concern and responsibility. This domain relates to emotions, appreciations, and the ability to listen and respond in interactions with others.

3. Psychomotor Learning
Demonstrated by physical skills, such as coordination, dexterity, strength, speed, fine and gross motor skills.


The Revised Taxonomy of Learning

The six categories were changed in 2001 from noun to verb form. Knowledge became "Remembering" and Comprehension and Synthesis became "Understanding" and "Creating."

Thus, the new terminologies for Blooms Taxonomy are:

  • Remembering
  • Understanding
  • Applying
  • Analyzing
  • Evaluating
  • Creating

The revisions may seem minor, but the are actually quite significant. There is also a focus on more of a product to show learning. The revision "provides a clear, concise visual representation" (Krathwohl, 2002) of the alignment between standards and educational goals.


Blooms Taxonomy and Differentiation in the Classroom

Carol Ann Tomlinson and Benjamin Bloom's research work in tandem to support brain research and learning. Tomlinson says that teachers can differentiate instruction based on student readiness, interests or learning profile.

This is done through content, process, product and learning environment.

Another big name in differentiation is Wendy Conklin. She is an award winning author and has produced some of the easiest to implement strategies for reaching multiple levels in the classroom.

I have this book and have found it to be invaluable.

The lessons and techniques in it are so easy to implement - best of all, they take very little preparation so I can even do them on the fly.



I will be the first to admit - it's a hefty price tag. But I have gone through hundreds of published books on differentiation looking for results-based strategies using Blooms Taxonomy and this is the best one.

I probably spent more on all of the other books I have combined than the cost of just this one (actually, I know I did - about $400 more).

This will quickly become your "Go To" resource for meaningful differentiation activities that your class will love.


Do you need to work on fluency and comprehension at all levels?

Teachable Poetry for Fluency and Comprehension does that along with using a variety of questions that make kids really have to think about what they are reading.





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