Before 1920 
  1920 
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  1940
  1950
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  1980
  1990
  The Future
 
 

  The 1950s:
Programmed Instruction and Task Analysis

Bloom's Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain

Beginning in 1948, a group of educators undertook the task of classifying education goals and objectives. The intention was to develop a classification system for three domains: the cognitive, the affective, and the psychomotor. Work on the cognitive domain was completed in 1956 and is commonly referred to as Bloom's Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain although there were 4 other authors: M. Englehart, E. Furst, W. Hill, and D. Krathwohl.

The major idea of the taxonomy is that statements of educational objectives can be arranged in a hierarchy from less to more complex. The taxonomy is presented below with sample verbs and a sample behavior statement for each level. In general, research over the last 40 years has confirmed the taxonomy as a hierarchy with the exception of the last two levels. It is uncertain at this time whether synthesis and evaluation should be reversed (i.e., evaluation is less difficult to accomplish than synthesis) or whether synthesis and evaluation are at the same level of difficulty but use different cognitive processes.

In any case it is clear that students can "know" about a topic or subject at different levels. While most teacher-made tests still test at the lower levels of the taxonomy, research has shown that students remember more when they have learned to handle the topic at the higher levels of the taxonomy.

     

 LEVEL

 DEFINITION

 SAMPLE
VERBS

 SAMPLE
BEHAVIORS

 KNOWLEDGE
 Student recalls or recognizes information, ideas, and principles in the approximate form in which they were learned.

Recognize
Match
Memorize
Repeat
Select
Write
List
Label
Name
State
Define
 The student will define the 6 levels of Bloom's taxonomy of the cognitive domain.

 COMPREHENSION
 Student translates, comprehends, or interprets information based on prior
learning.

Illustrate
Generalize
Explain
Summarize
Paraphrase
Describe
Interpret
 The student will explain the purpose of Bloom's taxonomy of the cognitive domain.

 APPLICATION
 Student selects, transfers, and uses data and principles to complete a problem or task with a minimum of direction.

Practice
Use
Compute
Solve
Demonstrate
Apply
Construct
Transfer
 The student will write an instructional objective for each level of Bloom's taxonomy.

 ANALYSIS
 Student distinguishes, classifies, and relates the assumptions, hypotheses, evidence, or structure of a statement or question.

Diagram
Debate
Examine
Analyze
Categorize
Compare
Contrast
Separate
 The student will compare and contrast the cognitive and affective domains.

 SYNTHESIS
 Student originates, integrates, and combines ideas into a product, plan or proposal that is new to him or her.

Plan
Formulate
Create
Design
Hypothesize
Invent
Develop
 The student will formulate a classification scheme for writing educational objectives that combines the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains.

 EVALUATION
 Student appraises, assesses, or critiques on a basis of specific standards and criteria.

 Evaluate
Assess
Use
Judge
Recommend
Critique
Justify
 The student will critique the effectiveness of writing objectives using Bloom's taxonomy.