Dr Benjamin Bloom wrote “Taxonomy of Educational Objectives” in 1956 and it has been a standard for classifying educational activities ever since. Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives for Knowledge Based Goals includes the following levels; knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. In “Biology in Bloom: Implementing Bloom’s Taxonomy to Enhance Student Learning in Biology” authors Crowe, Dirks and Wenderoth suggest a number of ways that Bloom’s Taxonomy can be adapted to the Biology classroom. One such example concerning eukaryotic cells is as follows:
Knowledge : Identify the parts of a eukaryotic cell; identify the correct definition of osmosis.
Comprehension: Describe nuclear transport to a lay person; provide an example of a cell signaling pathway.
Application: Predict what happens to X if Y increases
Analysis: Interpret data, graphs, or figures; make a diagnosis or analyze a case study; compare/contrast information.
Synthesis: Develop a hypothesis, design an experiment, create a model.
Evaluation: Critique an experimental design or a research proposal; appraise data in support of a hypothesis.
Bloom’s Taxonomy used as an instructional hierarchy is not unlike the development of critical thinking assessments and skills. However, Paul points out in his work “Blooms Taxonomy and Critical Thinking Instruction” that instructors should be careful not to equate systematic instruction in line with Bloom’s Taxonomy as developing critical thinking skills. True acquisition of knowledge is more than just recall of facts and can be achieved through any number of combinations of activities listed in Bloom’s Taxonomy. In fact, one can propose that students may achieve new knowledge by attacking an unknown set of data, deriving a hypothesis, designing an experiment (synthesis), analyzing and evaluating the data, thus resulting in a novel understanding of an event and new knowledge.
Bloom’s Taxonomy can also be utilized in designing courses or modules to emphasize these higher order thinking skills. An example has been posted below and a full size picture can be obtained by clicking on the image.