Bloom’s Taxonomy Updated

World War II Vets Return To College

I found a blog by Don Clark on  Bloom’s revised taxonomy of educational objectives. I was familiar with the old taxonomy but not the revised one, so I began to research the history of the taxonomy. It all starts with vets returning from World War II and going to college. The GI Bill would pay for tuition, books and supplies so the vets flooded the colleges without much increase in professors to instruct them. A needed assessment of these life-experiences was called, “college credit by examination,” and was developed and scored by young graduate students. These examiners noticed the need for better assessment.

Better Assessment: American Psychology Association (APA) Responds

The young examiners were overwhelmed by their task and met formally after the 1948 American Psychology Association (APA) meeting. A committee was formed and by 1956, the committee produced a report with Benjamin Bloom’s last name as the shorthand for their report. They wanted to address the rote learning style of teaching and update it to rote learning of knowledge plus: comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation.


The implications of the taxonomy are way to large for this short blog, but we can get some help from others (Wikipedia):

Bloom’s taxonomy serves as the backbone of many teaching philosophies, in particular, those that lean more towards skills rather than content.[8][9] 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 analysis, evaluation, synthesis and creation. Bloom’s taxonomy can be used as a teaching tool to help balance assessment and evaluative questions in class, assignments and texts to ensure all orders of thinking are exercised in students’ learning, including aspects of information searching.[20]

Connections across disciplines

The connection between the taxonomy and the interdisciplinary work of arts integration makes this an exciting field of study:

The skill development that takes place at these higher orders of thinking interacts well with a developing global focus on multiple literacies and modalities in learning and the emerging field of integrated disciplines.[21] The ability to interface with and create media would draw upon skills from multiple levels of the taxonomy including analysis, application and creation.[22][23] Bloom’s taxonomy (and the revised taxonomy) continues to be a source of inspiration for educational philosophy and for developing new teaching strategies. (Wikipedia)

Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy

One of the most important ideas to pick up on is how the taxonomy has been revised to use “ing” endings, and to place the category of “Creating” at the top. Don Clark‘s website has a such a good and simple explanation of this revision that I have included it here:

Lorin Anderson, a former student of Bloom, and David Krathwohl revisited the cognitive domain in the mid-nineties and made some changes, with perhaps the three most prominent ones being (Anderson, Krathwohl, Airasian, Cruikshank, Mayer, Pintrich, Raths, Wittrock, 2000):

The chart shown below compares the original taxonomy with the revised one:

Cognitive Domain

This new taxonomy reflects a more active form of thinking and is perhaps more accurate. The new version of Bloom’s Taxonomy, with examples and keywords is shown below, while the old version may be found here

Table of the Revised Cognitive Domain

CategoryExamples, key words (verbs), and technologies for learning (activities)
Remembering: Recall or retrieve previous learned information.Examples: Recite a policy. Quote prices from memory to a customer. Recite the safety rules. Key Words: defines, describes, identifies, knows, labels, lists, matches, names, outlines, recalls, recognizes, reproduces, selects, states Technologies: book marking, flash cards, rote learning based on repetition, reading
Understanding: Comprehending the meaning, translation, interpolation, and interpretation of instructions and problems. State a problem in one’s own words.Examples: Rewrite the principles of test writing. Explain in one’s own words the steps for performing a complex task. Translate an equation into a computer spreadsheet. Key Words: comprehends, converts, defends, distinguishes, estimates, explains, extends, generalizes, gives an example, infers, interprets, paraphrases, predicts, rewrites, summarizes, translates Technologies: create an analogy, participating in cooperative learning, taking notes, storytelling, Internet search
Applying: Use a concept in a new situation or unprompted use of an abstraction. Applies what was learned in the classroom into novel situations in the work place.Examples: Use a manual to calculate an employee’s vacation time. Apply laws of statistics to evaluate the reliability of a written test. Key Words: applies, changes, computes, constructs, demonstrates, discovers, manipulates, modifies, operates, predicts, prepares, produces, relates, shows, solves, uses Technologies: collaborative learning, create a process, blog, practice
Analyzing: Separates material or concepts into component parts so that its organizational structure may be understood. Distinguishes between facts and inferences.Examples: Troubleshoot a piece of equipment by using logical deduction. Recognize logical fallacies in reasoning. Gathers information from a department and selects the required tasks for training. Key Words: analyzes, breaks down, compares, contrasts, diagrams, deconstructs, differentiates, discriminates, distinguishes, identifies, illustrates, infers, outlines, relates, selects, separates TechnologiesFishbowls, debating, questioning what happened, run a test
Evaluating: Make judgments about the value of ideas or materials.Examples: Select the most effective solution. Hire the most qualified candidate. Explain and justify a new budget.Key Words: appraises, compares, concludes, contrasts, criticizes, critiques, defends, describes, discriminates, evaluates, explains, interprets, justifies, relates, summarizes, supportsTechnologies: survey, blogging
Creating: Builds a structure or pattern from diverse elements. Put parts together to form a whole, with emphasis on creating a new meaning or structure.Examples: Write a company operations or process manual. Design a machine to perform a specific task. Integrates training from several sources to solve a problem. Revises and process to improve the outcome.Key Words: categorizes, combines, compiles, composes, creates, devises, designs, explains, generates, modifies, organizes, plans, rearranges, reconstructs, relates, reorganizes, revises, rewrites, summarizes, tells, writesTechnologies: Create a new model, write an essay, network with others
Dr. Robert A. Southworth, Jr.

Dr. Robert A. Southworth, Jr.

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