As history has shown, this well known, widely applied scheme filled a void and provided educators with one of the first systematic classifications of the processes of thinking and learning. The cumulative hierarchical framework consisting of six categories, each requiring achievement of the prior skill or ability before the next, more complex, one, remains easy to understand. Out of necessity, teachers must measure their students’ ability. Accurately doing so requires a classification of levels of intellectual behavior important in learning. Bloom’s Taxonomy provided the measurement tool for thinking.
With the dramatic changes in society over the last five decades, the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy provides an even more powerful tool to fit today’s teachers’ needs. The structure of the Revised Taxonomy Table matrix “provides a clear, concise visual representation” (Krathwohl, 2002) of the alignment between standards and educational goals, objectives, products, and activities.
Today’s teachers must make tough decisions about how to spend their classroom time. Clear alignment of educational objectives with local, state, and national standards is a necessity.
Like pieces of a huge puzzle, everything must fit properly. The Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy Table clarifies the fit of each lesson plan’s purpose, “essential question,” goal or objective. The twenty-four-cell grid from Oregon State University that is shown above along with the printable taxonomy table examples can easily be used in conjunction with a chart. When used in this manner the “Essential Question” or the lesson objective becomes clearly defined.
How can Bloom’s Taxonomy be used?
A search of the World Wide Web will yield clear evidence that Bloom’s Taxonomy has been applied to a variety of situations. Current results include a broad spectrum of applications represented by articles and websites describing everything from corrosion training to medical preparation. In almost all circumstances when an instructor desires to move a group of students through a learning process utilizing an organized framework, Bloom’s Taxonomy can prove helpful. Yet the educational setting (K-graduate) remains the most often used application. A brief explanation of one example is described below.
The educational journal Theory into Practice published an entire issue on the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy.
Included is an article entitled, “Using the Revised Taxonomy to Plan and Deliver Team-Taught, Integrated, Thematic Units” (Ferguson, 2002).
The writer describes the use of the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy to plan and deliver an integrated English and history course entitled “Western Culture.” The taxonomy provided the team-teachers with a common language with which to translate and discuss state standards from two different subject areas. Moreover, it helped them to understand how their subjects overlapped and how they could develop conceptual and procedural knowledge concurrently. Furthermore, the taxonomy table in the revised taxonomy provided the history and English teachers with a new outlook on assessment and enabled them to create assignments and projects that required students to operate at more complex levels of thinking (Abstract, Ferguson, 2002).
Bloom’s group initially met hoping to reduce the duplication of effort by faculty at various universities. In the beginning, the scope of their purpose was limited to facilitating the exchange of test items measuring the same educational objectives. Intending the Taxonomy “as a method of classifying educational objectives, educational experiences, learning processes, and evaluation questions and problems” (Paul, 1985 p. 39), numerous examples of test items (mostly multiple choice) were included. This led to a natural linkage of specific verbs and products with each level of the taxonomy. Thus, when designing effective lesson plans, teachers often look to Bloom’s Taxonomy for guidance.
Likewise the Revised Taxonomy includes specific verb and product linkage with each of the levels of the Cognitive Process Dimension. However, due to its 19 subcategories and two-dimensional organization, there is more clarity and less confusion about the fit of a specific verb or product to a given level. Thus the Revised Taxonomy offers teachers an even more powerful tool to help design their lesson plans.
As touched upon earlier, through the years, Bloom’s Taxonomy has given rise to educational concepts, including terms such as high and low level thinking. It has also been closely linked with multiple intelligences (Noble, 2004) problem solving skills, creative and critical thinking, and more recently, technology integration.
Using the Revised Taxonomy in an adaptation from the Omaha Public Schools Teacher’s Corner, a lesson objective based upon the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears is presented for each of the six levels of the Cognitive Process as shown on the Revised Taxonomy Table.
Remember: Describe where Goldilocks lived.
Understand: Summarize what the Goldilocks story was about.
Apply: Construct a theory as to why Goldilocks went into the house.
Analyze: Differentiate between how Goldilocks reacted and how you would react in each story event.
Evaluate: Assess whether or not you think this really happened to Goldilocks.
Create: Compose a song, skit, poem, or rap to convey the Goldilocks story in a new form.
Although this is a very simple example of the application of Bloom’s taxonomy the author is hopeful that it will demonstrate both the ease and the usefulness of the Revised Taxonomy Table.