Identifying clear targets and using Bloom's Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain
Teachers identify intended learning targets. Once we have identified those targets, we are better able to plan meaningful assessments that reflect exactly what we will teach and what we want students to learn. These assessments are used to disaggregate valuable information about student progress and achievement.
Teachers categorize tasks within learning targets according to the types of student performances required. Bloom's Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain helps teachers understand the level of challenge presented by different learning targets, tasks, and performances. Mastery of content and skills requires students to perform at all levels, not just the "low" or "high" ones.
Bloom's Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain
- Students recall information; students exhibit memory of previously learned material by recalling facts, terms, basic concepts, and answers.
- Example verbs: define, memorize, repeat, record, list, recall, name, relate, collect, label, specify, cite, enumerate, tell, recount
- Students recognize what they know in context; students identify relationships between pieces of information; students demonstrate understanding of facts and ideas by organizing, comparing, translating, interpreting, giving descriptions, and stating main ideas.
- Example verbs: restate, summarize, discuss, describe, recognize, explain, express, identify, locate, report, retell, review, translate
- Students use what they know and comprehend in the performance of a skill; students solve problems to new situations by using acquired knowledge, facts, techniques, and rules in new ways.
- Example verbs: exhibit, solve, interview, simulate, apply, employ, use, demonstrate, dramatize, practice, illustrate, operate, calculate, show, experiment
- Students draw conclusions from new data, making interpretations based on familiar patterns in what they know and comprehend; students examine and break information into parts by identifying motives or causes; students make inferences and find evidence to support generalizations.
- Example verbs: interpret, classify, analyze, arrange, differentiate, group, compare, organize, contrast, examine, scrutinize, survey, categorize, dissect, probe, inventory, investigate, question, discover, text, inquire, distinguish, detect, diagram
- Students create a new work that demonstrates their ability to apply their knowledge, comprehension, and analysis of information in a student-generated product; students compile information together in a different way by combining elements in a new pattern or proposing alternative solutions based on the application of knowledge and understanding.
- Example verbs: compose, setup, plan, prepare, propose, imagine, produce, hypothesize, invent, incorporate, develop, generalize, design, originate, formulate, predict, arrange, contrive, assemble, concoct, construct, systematize, create
- Students develop, argue and defend opinions based on what they know and comprehend after making an analysis; students present and defend opinions by making judgments about information; students validate ideas or quality of work based on a set of criteria.
- Example verbs: judge, assess, decide, measure, appraise, estimate, evaluate, infer, rate, deduce, compare, score, value, predict, revise, choose, conclude, recommend, select, determine, criticize
Below is an example of how teachers might identify a learning target, the task associated with it, and then create questions and activities from each of the different levels:
Objective: The student will write a compound sentence using conjunctions.
- What is a compound sentence?
- List the conjunctions that you could use to combine sentences into a compound sentence.
- What is the difference between a compound and a simple sentence?
- Create a compound sentence from two given simple sentences.
- Write one example of a compound sentence.
- Use the conjunction "and" to form a compound sentence.
- Identify reasons for using conjunctions to form compound sentences.
- Compare the three conjunctions "and", "or", and "but" and explain the differences among each.
- Write a paragraph that uses each of the three conjunctions to form a compound sentence.
- Trade paragraphs with a partner and look for 3 compound sentences using "and", "or", and "but".
- Determine whether or not your partner understands writing with compound sentences and be prepared to defend your answers.
Putting it All Together - A Backward Design
During the initial planning of a unit, teachers identify enduring understandings, essential questions, and clear learning targets to be assessed throughout the unit. Included is an analysis of Bloom's Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain to determine the levels of cognition required within the unit. Will students recall information, create new pieces of work, or perhaps do both? Which level of Bloom's Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain best describes what students should know, understand, and be able to do as a result of instruction? During the initial stages of unit planning, teachers pay attention to both assessment design and acceptable evidence of achievement on the various assessments.