Bloom's Taxonomy and Assessments

Bloom's Taxonomy and Assessments
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  • 0:05 A Teacher's Goal
  • 0:39 Overview of Bloom's Taxonomy
  • 1:31 Mastery Learning
  • 2:58 Levels of Bloom's Taxonomy
  • 7:42 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Erin Long-Crowell
Bloom's Taxonomy is a popular and extremely helpful tool that is used by most teachers. In this lesson, we'll discuss the original and revised Bloom's Taxonomy as well as how to use it in the classroom to assess learning and cognitive ability.

A Teacher's Goal

A goal of teachers everywhere is to help our students to not only learn basic information but also improve cognitive ability. In other words, we want to help improve our students' ability to think. We don't want students to just memorize information. After all, memorizing something is not the same as thinking about it or understanding it. Helping someone improve their thinking skills isn't easy, but we can use Bloom's Taxonomy to help us reach our goal.

Overview of Bloom's Taxonomy

Bloom's Taxonomy is a list of cognitive skills that is used by teachers to determine the level of thinking their students have achieved. The taxonomy ranks the cognitive skills on a continuum from lower-order thinking to higher-order thinking. The taxonomy is often depicted by a pyramid that shows the hierarchy of cognitive skills. It was created by psychologist Benjamin Bloom and several of his colleagues in 1948. It was then updated in the 1990s by one of his students named Lorin Anderson. Anderson updated the names of the categories and swapped the top two elements on the pyramid. Most teachers use this revised taxonomy, and it's what we'll focus on in this lesson.

The pyramid was updated in the 1990s by a student of Benjamin Bloom.
Blooms Taxonomy Updated Pyramid

Mastery Learning

Look at this popular poster of the revised taxonomy. When students perform the skills on the far left, they are demonstrating lower-order thinking. The skills on the far right demonstrate higher-order thinking. An important concept of Bloom's theory is that students should master each skill that demonstrates lower-order thinking before they move on to the more advanced skills that demonstrate higher-order thinking. This is what Bloom called mastery learning.

For example, teachers should focus on helping students to remember information before expecting them to understand it, helping them understand it before expecting them to apply it to a new situation, and so on. Each skill on the taxonomy represents a building block to the next. In order to ensure that students have mastered any learning objective completely, teachers use Bloom's Taxonomy as a sort of checklist to make sure each student can demonstrate every cognitive skill on the taxonomy.

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