Assessing Data on Student Learning in Cognitive & Affective Domains

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

Within each of Dr. Bloom's learning domains, levels of performance have been established. In this lesson, we will learn more about the cognitive and affective domains of learning and discuss assessments that can be used for each.

Learning Domains

Dr. Benjamin Bloom and his team of researchers identified three domains of learning. The learning domains are cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. The cognitive domain is where intellect is developed. Within the cognitive domain, students process new information, store knowledge, and retrieve it to apply to new circumstances. The affective domain yields emotions, values, and attitudes. Student motivation and engagement are tied to the affective domain. The psychomotor domain governs motor skill development. All activities within the psychomotor domain improve fine motor, gross motor, or perceptual skills. Dr. Bloom further developed stages of learning for the cognitive and affective domains, but left the psychomotor domain to be explored by other theorists. Let's learn more about the learning stages within the cognitive and affective domains, as well as assessment strategies for each.

Cognitive Domain

Dr. Bloom has developed a hierarchy of cognitive skills that guides teachers as they move students to more rigorous thinking.

• The first level is recalling information. While there is a certain amount of remembering facts that students need in order to develop schema, teachers should be careful not to limit students to low-level skills. The majority of instructional time should be spent working in higher cognitive levels.

• The second level is comprehension. Summarizing what has been learned is a level-two skill.

• The third level requires students to apply information they have learned. Applying information may include making classifications or teaching others what they have learned.

• The fourth level is analysis, which involves making inferences and drawing conclusions. Students at this level compare and contrast two elements within the learning experience and further investigate a concept.

• The fifth level is synthesis, which includes developing or creating a new product. The fifth level is evaluation in which students are able to critique others or defend a position through debate.

Affective Domain

Within the affective domain, there are five levels.

• The first, or receiving level is becoming aware of something. For example, a student might watch a television program about landfills.

• The second level is responding. This child might make a conscious effort to use a recycling bin when available to avoid contributing to the landfills.

• The third level is valuing. At this level, the student has incorporated the new beliefs into his or her character. This student will find ways to make sure than he is able to recycle and will no longer accept using the trash can as an option for recyclable materials.

• The fourth level is organization at which point the individual has made his or her new beliefs a priority and begins to lead others in the same direction. This student might start a recycling program or a club that focuses on reducing the carbon footprint.

• The fifth level is characterization where the belief has become a defining part of the person. At this level the person may commit to a career in environmental protection.

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