THEORY INTO PRACTICE / Autumn 2002 Revising Bloom’s Taxonomy David R. Krathwohl A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy: An Overview T HE TAXONOMY OF EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES is a framework for classifying statements of what we expect or intend students to learn as a Bloom saw the original Taxonomy as more than a measurement tool. He believed it could serve as a
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  212 THEORY     INTO   PRACTICE     / Autumn 2002  Revising Bloom’s Taxonomy David R. Krathwohl is Hannah Hammond Professor of  Education Emeritus at Syracuse University. T HE  T AXONOMY   OF  E DUCATIONAL  O BJECTIVES  is a framework for classifying statements of what we expect or intend students to learn as aresult of instruction. The framework was conceivedas a means of facilitating the exchange of test itemsamong faculty at various universities in order tocreate banks of items, each measuring the sameeducational objective. Benjamin S. Bloom, thenAssociate Director of the Board of Examinations of the University of Chicago, initiated the idea, hopingthat it would reduce the labor of preparing annualcomprehensive examinations. To aid in his effort, heenlisted a group of measurement specialists fromacross the United States, many of whom repeatedlyfaced the same problem. This group met about twicea year beginning in 1949 to consider progress, makerevisions, and plan the next steps. Their final draftwas published in 1956 under the title, Taxonomy of  Educational Objectives: The Classification of Edu-cational Goals. Handbook I: Cognitive Domain (Bloom, Engelhart, Furst, Hill, & Krathwohl, 1956). 1 Hereafter, this is referred to as the srcinal Taxono-my. The revision of this framework, which is thesubject of this issue of Theory Into Practice, wasdeveloped in much the same manner 45 years later(Anderson, Krathwohl, et al., 2001). Hereafter, thisis referred to as the revised Taxonomy. 2 Bloom saw the srcinal Taxonomy as more thana measurement tool. He believed it could serve as aãcommon language about learning goals to facili-tate communication across persons, subject matter,and grade levels;ãbasis for determining for a particular course orcurriculum the specific meaning of broad educa-tional goals, such as those found in the currentlyprevalent national, state, and local standards;ãmeans for determining the congruence of educa-tional objectives, activities, and assessments ina unit, course, or curriculum; andãpanorama of the range of educational possibili-ties against which the limited breadth and depthof any particular educational course or curricu-lum could be contrasted. The Original Taxonomy The srcinal Taxonomy provided carefullydeveloped definitions for each of the six major cat-egories in the cognitive domain. The categorieswere Knowledge , Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and  Evaluation. 3  With the ex-ception of  Application , each of these was brokeninto subcategories. The complete structure of thesrcinal Taxonomy is shown in Table 1.The categories were ordered from simple tocomplex and from concrete to abstract. Further, itwas assumed that the srcinal Taxonomy repre-sented a cumulative hierarchy; that is, mastery of    THEORY     INTO   PRACTICE   , Volume 41, Number 4, Autumn 2002Copyright © 2002 College of Education, The Ohio State University David R. Krathwohl   A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy: An Overview    213  An OverviewKrathwohl each simpler category was prerequisite to masteryof the next more complex one.At the time it was introduced, the term tax-onomy  was unfamiliar as an education term. Po-tential users did not understand what it meant,therefore, little attention was given to the srcinalTaxonomy at first. But as readers saw its poten-tial, the framework became widely known and cit-ed, eventually being translated into 22 languages.One of the most frequent uses of the srcinalTaxonomy has been to classify curricular objec-tives and test items in order to show the breadth,or lack of breadth, of the objectives and itemsacross the spectrum of categories. Almost always,these analyses have shown a heavy emphasis onobjectives requiring only recognition or recall of information, objectives that fall in the Knowledge category. But, it is objectives that involve the under-standing and use of knowledge, those that would beclassified in the categories from Comprehension  to Synthesis,  that are usually considered the most im-portant goals of education. Such analyses, therefore,have repeatedly provided a basis for moving curricu-la and tests toward objectives that would be classi-fied in the more complex categories. From One Dimension to Two Dimensions Objectives that describe intended learningoutcomes as the result of instruction are usuallyframed in terms of (a) some subject matter contentand (b) a description of what is to be done with or tothat content. Thus, statements of objectives typicallyconsist of a noun or noun phrase—the subject mattercontent—and a verb or verb phrase—the cognitiveprocess(es). Consider, for example, the followingobjective: The student shall be able to rememberthe law of supply and demand in economics. “Thestudent shall be able to” (or “The learner will,” orsome other similar phrase) is common to all objec-tives since an objective defines what students areexpected to learn. Statements of objectives oftenomit “The student shall be able to” phrase, speci-fying just the unique part (e.g., “Remember theeconomics law of supply and demand.”). In thisform it is clear that the noun phrase is “law of supply and demand” and the verb is “remember.”In the srcinal Taxonomy, the Knowledge cate-gory embodied both noun and verb aspects. The nounor subject matter aspect was specified in Knowledge’s extensive subcategories. The verb aspect was includ-ed in the definition given to Knowledge  in that thestudent was expected to be able to recall or recog-nize knowledge. This brought unidimensionality tothe framework at the cost of a Knowledge categorythat was dual in nature and thus different from theother Taxonomic categories. This anomaly was elim-inated in the revised Taxonomy by allowing thesetwo aspects, the noun and verb, to form separate di-mensions, the noun providing the basis for the Knowl-edge dimension and the verb forming the basis forthe Cognitive Process dimension. Table 1Structure of the Original Taxonomy  1.0Knowledge1.10 Knowledge of specifics1.11 Knowledge of terminology1.12 Knowledge of specific facts1.20 Knowledge of ways and means of dealing withspecifics1.21 Knowledge of conventions1.22 Knowledge of trends and sequences1.23 Knowledge of classifications and categories1.24 Knowledge of criteria1.25 Knowledge of methodology1.30 Knowledge of universals and abstractions in a field 1.31 Knowledge of principles and generaliza-tions1.32 Knowledge of theories and structures 2.0Comprehension2.1 Translation2.2 Interpretation2.3 Extrapolation 3.0Application 4.0Analysis4.1 Analysis of elements4.2 Analysis of relationships4.3 Analysis of organizational principles 5.0Synthesis5.1 Production of a unique communication5.2 Production of a plan, or proposed set of operations5.3 Derivation of a set of abstract relations 6.0Evaluation6.1 Evaluation in terms of internal evidence6.2 Judgments in terms of external criteria  214 THEORY     INTO   PRACTICE     / Autumn 2002  Revising Bloom’s Taxonomy The Knowledge dimension Like the srcinal, the knowledge categoriesof the revised Taxonomy cut across subject matterlines. The new Knowledge dimension, however,contains four instead of three main categories.Three of them include the substance of the subcat-egories of Knowledge in the srcinal framework.But they were reorganized to use the terminology,and to recognize the distinctions of cognitive psy-chology that developed since the srcinal frame-work was devised. A fourth, and new category,  Metacognitive Knowledge,   provides a distinctionthat was not widely recognized at the time the src-inal scheme was developed.  Metacognitive Knowl-edge   involves knowledge about cognition in generalas well as awareness of and knowledge about one’sown cognition (Pintrich, this issue). It is of in-creasing significance as researchers continue todemonstrate the importance of students being madeaware of their metacognitive activity, and then us-ing this knowledge to appropriately adapt the waysin which they think and operate. The four catego-ries with their subcategories are shown in Table 2. The Cognitive Process dimension The srcinal number of categories, six, was re-tained, but with important changes. Three categorieswere renamed, the order of two was interchanged,and those category names retained were changed toverb form to fit the way they are used in objectives.The verb aspect of the srcinal Knowledge category was kept as the first of the six major cat-egories, but was renamed  Remember . Comprehen-sion  was renamed because one criterion forselecting category labels was the use of terms thatteachers use in talking about their work. Because understand   is a commonly used term in objectives,its lack of inclusion was a frequent criticism of thesrcinal Taxonomy. Indeed, the srcinal group con-sidered using it, but dropped the idea after furtherconsideration showed that when teachers say theywant the student to “really” understand, they meananything from Comprehension to Synthesis.  But,to the revising authors there seemed to be popularusage in which understand   was a widespread syn-onym for comprehending. So, Comprehension,  thesecond of the srcinal categories, was renamed Understand. 4 Table 2Structure of the Knowledge Dimensionof the Revised Taxonomy  A.Factual Knowledge – The basic elements that stu-dents must know to be acquainted with a disciplineor solve problems in it. Aa.Knowledge of terminologyAb.Knowledge of specific details and elements  B.Conceptual     Knowledge – The interrelationshipsamong the basic elements within a larger structurethat enable them to function together. Ba.Knowledge of classifications and categoriesBb.Knowledge of principles and generalizationsBc.Knowledge of theories, models, and structures  C.Procedural Knowledge  – How to do something; meth-ods of inquiry, and criteria for using skills, algorithms,techniques, and methods. Ca.Knowledge of subject-specific skills and al-gorithmsCb.Knowledge of subject-specific techniques andmethodsCc.Knowledge of criteria for determining whento use appropriate procedures  D.Metacognitive Knowledge – Knowledge of cognitionin general as well as awareness and knowledge of one’s own cognition. Da.Strategic knowledgeDb.Knowledge about cognitive tasks, includingappropriate contextual and conditionalknowledgeDc.Self-knowledge  Application, Analysis, and  Evaluation were re-tained, but in their verb forms as  Apply  ,  Analyze, and    Evaluate . Synthesis changed places with  Evalu-ation  and was renamed Create . All the srcinal sub-categories were replaced with gerunds, and called“cognitive processes.” With these changes, the cate-gories and subcategories—cognitive processes—of theCognitive Process dimension are shown in Table 3.Whereas the six major categories were givenfar more attention than the subcategories in the src-inal Taxonomy, in the revision, the 19 specific cog-nitive processes within the six cognitive processcategories receive the major emphasis. Indeed, thenature of the revision’s six major categories emerg-es most clearly from the descriptions given the spe-cific cognitive processes. Together, these processescharacterize each category’s breadth and depth.   215  An OverviewKrathwohl Like the srcinal Taxonomy, the revision is ahierarchy in the sense that the six major categoriesof the Cognitive Process dimension are believed todiffer in their complexity, with remember   beingless complex than understand,  which is less com-plex than apply,  and so on. However, because therevision gives much greater weight to teacher us-age, the requirement of a strict hierarchy has beenrelaxed to allow the categories to overlap one an-other. This is most clearly illustrated in the case of the category Understand  . Because its scope hasbeen considerably broadened over Comprehend   inthe srcinal framework, some cognitive processesassociated with Understand   (e.g.,  Explaining ) aremore cognitively complex than at least one of thecognitive processes associated with  Apply  (e.g.,  Executing ). If, however, one were to locate the“center point” of each of the six major categorieson a scale of judged complexity, they would likelyform a scale from simple to complex. In this sense,the Cognitive Process dimension is a hierarchy,and probably one that would be supported as wellas was the srcinal Taxonomy in terms of empiri-cal evidence (see Anderson, Krathwohl, et al., 2001,chap. 16). The Taxonomy Table In the revised Taxonomy, the fact that anyobjective would be represented in two dimensionsimmediately suggested the possibility of construct-ing a two-dimensional table, which we termed theTaxonomy Table. The Knowledge dimension wouldform the vertical axis of the table, whereas theCognitive Process dimension would form the hori-zontal axis. The intersections of the knowledge andcognitive process categories would form the cells.Consequently, any objective could be classified inthe Taxonomy Table in one or more cells that cor-respond with the intersection of the column(s) ap-propriate for categorizing the verb(s) and the row(s)appropriate for categorizing the noun(s) or nounphrase(s). To see how this placement of objectivesis accomplished, consider the following exampleadapted from the State of Minnesota’s LanguageArts Standards for Grade 12: A student shall demonstrate the ability to write us-ing grammar, language mechanics, and other con-ventions of standard written English for a variety of academic purposes and situations by writing srcinalcompositions that analyze patterns and relationshipsof ideas, topics, or themes. (State of Minnesota, 1998) We begin by simplifying the standard (i.e., objec-tive) by ignoring certain parts, particularly restric-tions such as “using grammar, language mechanics,and other conventions of standard written Englishfor a variety of academic purposes and situations.”(Some of these specify scoring dimensions that, if not done correctly, would cause the student’s com-position to be given a lower grade.) Omitting theserestrictions leaves us with the following: Table 3Structure of the Cognitive ProcessDimension of the Revised Taxonomy 1.0Remember  – Retrieving relevant knowledge fromlong-term memory. 1.1 Recognizing1.2 Recalling 2.0Understand   – Determining the meaning of instruc-tional messages, including oral, written, and graphiccommunication.  2.1 Interpreting 2.2 Exemplifying 2.3 Classifying 2.4 Summarizing 2.5 Inferring 2.6 Comparing 2.7 Explaining 3.0Apply  – Carrying out or using a procedure in a givensituation.  3.1 Executing 3.2 Implementing 4.0Analyze  – Breaking material into its constituent partsand detecting how the parts relate to one another andto an overall structure or purpose.  4.1 Differentiating 4.2 Organizing 4.3 Attributing 5.0Evaluate  – Making judgments based on criteria andstandards.  5.1 Checking 5.2 Critiquing6.0   Create  – Putting elements together to form a novel,coherent whole or make an srcinal product. 6.1 Generating6.2 Planning6.3 Producing

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