For many years, the two taxonomies discussed below have helped educator’s design their lesson plans. Of the two, Bloom’s taxonomy may be more familiar. In the original 1956 version, learning and thinking skills are broken into the six levels of learning objectives listed below: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation.
Two of Bloom’s colleagues, Lorin W. Anderson and David Krathwol, developed their own taxonomy, similar in many ways to Blooms. Two differences stand out, however. First, they switch the last two categories. Second, they use verbs rather than nouns to label their categories, which are: Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analyzing, Evaluating, and Creating.
In 2001, Bloom reordered and renamed his categories so that they match up with the verb-oriented categories of Anderson and Krathwol. His revised taxonomy lists the following categories: Remember, Understand, Apply, Analyze, Evaluate, and Create (rather than Synthesize).
Note how Bloom changes Synthesis to Create. He also switches the order of his categories in 2001 so they line up with the verb-oriented taxonomy of Anderson and Krathwol.
Remembering or retrieving previously learned material.
Examples of verbs that relate to this function are: know, identify, relate, list, define, recall, memorize, repeat, record, name, recognize, and acquire.
Remembering is when memory is used to produce definitions, facts, or lists, or recite or retrieve material.
Remembering: Retrieving, recalling, or recognizing knowledge from memory.
Comprehension: The ability to grasp or construct meaning from material.
Examples of verbs that relate to this function are: restate, locate, report, recognize, explain, express, identify, discuss, describe, review, infer, conclude, illustrate, interpret, draw, represent, and differentiate.
Understanding: Constructing meaning from different types of functions be they written or graphic messages activities like interpreting, exemplifying, classifying, summarizing, inferring, comparing, and explaining.
The ability to use learned material, or to implement material in new and concrete situations.
Examples of verbs that relate to this function are: apply, relate, develop, translate, use, operate, organize, employ, restructure, interpret, demonstrate, illustrate, practice, calculate, show, exhibit, and dramatize.
Applying: Carrying out or using a procedure through executing, or implementing. Applying related and refers to situations where learned material is used through products like models, presentations, interviews or simulations.
The ability to break down or distinguish the parts of material into its components so that its organizational structure may be better understood.
Examples of verbs that relate to this function are: analyze, compare, probe, inquire, examine, contrast, categorize, differentiate, contrast, investigate, detect, survey, classify, deduce, experiment, scrutinize, discover, inspect, dissect, discriminate, and separate.
Analyzing: Breaking material or concepts into parts, determining how the parts relate or interrelate to one another or to an overall structure or purpose. Mental actions included in this function are differentiating, organizing, and attributing, as well as being able to distinguish between the components or parts. When one is analyzing he/she can illustrate this mental function by creating spreadsheets, surveys, charts, or diagrams, or graphic representations.
Synthesis: The ability to put parts together to form a coherent or unique new whole.
Examples of verbs that relate to this function are: compose, produce, design, assemble, create, prepare, predict, modify, tell, plan, invent, formulate, collect, set up, generalize, document, combine, relate, propose, develop, arrange, construct, organize, originate, derive, write, and propose.
Evaluating: Making judgments based on criteria and standards through checking and critiquing. Critiques, recommendations, and reports are some of the products that can be created to demonstrate the processes of evaluation. In the newer taxonomy evaluation comes before creating as it is often a necessary part of the precursory behavior before creating something.
Anderson switches this category with the last one in Bloom’s taxonomy.
Evaluation: The ability to judge, check, and even critique the value of material for a given purpose.
Examples of verbs that relate to this function are: judge, assess compare, evaluate, conclude, measure, deduce, argue, decide, choose, rate, select, estimate, validate, consider, appraise, value, criticize, and infer.
Creating: Putting elements together to form a coherent or functional whole; reorganizing elements into a new pattern or structure through generating, planning, or producing. Creating requires users to put parts together in a new way or synthesize parts into something new and different a new form or product. This process is the most difficult mental function in the new taxonomy.
Anderson switches this category with the next to last one in Bloom’s taxonomy.
Bloom’s Taxonomy for classifying leaning objectives
Bloom’s taxonomy serves as the backbone of many teaching philosophies, in particular, those that lean more towards skills rather than content. These educators view content as a vessel for teaching skills. The emphasis on higher-order thinking inherent in such philosophies is based on the top levels of the taxonomy including application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Bloom’s taxonomy can be used as a teaching tool to help balance evaluative and assessment-based questions in assignments, texts, and in-class engagements to ensure that all orders of thinking are exercised in students’ learning, including aspects of information searching.
[Bloom] also edited the first volume of the standard text, Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals.
Understanding Bloom’s (and Anderson and Krathwohl’s) Taxonomy
8 August 2013
The [Anderson and Krathwohl] updates are reflective of a more active thought process and include three main changes:
- Category names were revised from nouns to verbs.
Anderson and Krathwohl felt that subject matter (noun) and cognitive processes (verb) should be separate dimensions, so they replaced Bloom’s nouns with verbs to reflect the nature of thinking for each category.
- The last two stages of Bloom’s Taxonomy were switched so that evaluation (evaluating) comes before synthesis (creating).
Anderson and Krathwohl believed that a learner’s ability to evaluate came before his or her ability to synthesize/create and therefore changed the order of these last two categories in Bloom’s Taxonomy.
- The knowledge (remembering) category was updated to reflect four knowledge dimensions instead of three.
Under the original Bloom’s Taxonomy, the knowledge/remembering category only included three knowledge dimensions: factual (basic elements of knowledge), conceptual (the interrelationships between basic elements of knowledge), and procedural (the “how-to” part of knowledge). With Anderson and Krathwohl’s updates, they added a fourth knowledge dimension: metacognitive (knowledge of cognition and awareness of one’s own cognition).
A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy
by David R. Krathwohl