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Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives
One of the most widely used ways of organizing levels of expertise is according to Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives.3 Bloom's Taxonomy (Tables 1-3) uses a multi-tiered scale to express the level of expertise required to achieve each measurable student outcome. Organizing measurable student outcomes in this way will allow us to select appropriate classroom assessment techniques for the course. There are three taxonomies. Which of the three to use for a given measurable student outcome depends upon the original goal to which the measurable student outcome is connected. There are knowledge-based goals, skills-based goals, and affective goals (affective: values, attitudes, and interests); accordingly, there is a taxonomy for each. Within each taxonomy, levels of expertise are listed in order of increasing complexity. Measurable student outcomes that require the higher levels of expertise will require more sophisticated classroom assessment techniques. The course goal in Figure 2--"student understands proper dental hygiene"--is an example of a knowledge-based goal. It is knowledge-based because it requires that the student learn certain facts and concepts. An example of a skills-based goal for this course might be "student flosses teeth properly." This is a skills-based goal because it requires that the student learn how to do something. Finally, an affective goal for this course might be "student cares about proper oral hygiene." This is an affective goal because it requires that the student's values, attitudes, or interests be affected by the course. |Table 1: Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives for Knowledge-Based Goals | |Level of Expertise |Description of Level |Example of Measurable | | | |Student Outcome | |1. Knowledge |Recall, or recognition of terms, ideas, procedure, theories, etc. |When is the first day of Spring? | |2. Comprehension |Translate, interpret, extrapolate, but not see full implications |What does the summer solstice | | |or transfer to other situations, closer to literal translation. |represent? | |3. Application |Apply abstractions, general principles, or methods to specific |What would Earth's seasons be | | |concrete situations. |like if its orbit was perfectly | | | |circular? | |4. Analysis |Separation of a complex idea into its constituent parts and an |Why are seasons reversed in the | | |understanding of organization and relationship between the parts. |southern hemisphere? | | |Includes realizing the distinction between hypothesis and fact as | | | |well as between relevant and extraneous variables. | | |5. Synthesis |Creative, mental construction of ideas and concepts from multiple |If the longest day of the year is| | |sources to form complex ideas into a new, integrated, and |in June, why is the northern | | |meaningful pattern subject to given constraints. |hemisphere hottest in August? | |6. Evaluation |To make a judgment of ideas or methods using external evidence or |What would be the important | | |self-selected criteria substantiated by observations or informed |variables for predicting seasons | |...
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