Appendix L: Planning Resources

I. Bloom's Taxonomy (Cognitive Domain for Teaching)

It is critical for educators to address all cognitive levels of the students through our instruction, challenging ourselves to challenge them in their thinking and their production. A way to “check ourselves” to see that we are reaching each of these levels, is to build in appropriate performance tasks for them in our lessons. Consider the use of Bloom’s Taxonomy to assist in the development of lesson plans. Listed below are the six levels of cognition that Bloom has addressed, and explanation of each, and a suggested list of “verbs” to use in the directions for the performance task given the students.

Knowledge

Represents the lowest level of objectives. The definition of knowledge for this level is remembering previously learned material. The requirement is simple recall. The range of information may vary from simple facts to complex theories, but regardless of the complexity, knowledge is the cognitive level being utilized by the brain.
Examples of verbs or phrases to use to direct the desired learning task include: define, fill in the blank, identify, label, list, locate, match, memorize, name, spell, state, tell, and underline.

Comprehension

Is the first step beyond simple recall. It is the first level at which we see demonstration and understanding of information. It is the ability to apprehend, grasp, and interpret the meaning of material.
Examples of verbs or phrases to use to direct the desired learning task include: convert, describe, explain, interpret, paraphrase, put in order, restate, retell in your own words, rewrite, and summarize.

Application

Is the ability to show the pertinence of principles to different situations. At this level, students may apply concepts or methods to actual concrete problems. This thinking skill tells that a student can transfer selected information to a life problem or a new task with a minimum of direction.
Examples of verbs or phrases to use to direct the desired learning task include: compute, conclude, construct, demonstrate, determine, draw, give an example, illustrate, make, show, and solve.

Analysis

Requires more than knowledge, comprehension, and application. It also requires an understanding of the underlying structure of the material. Analysis is the ability to break down material to its functional elements for better understanding of the organization. Analysis may include identifying parts and clarifying relationships among parts. This thinking skill tells that a student can examine, take apart, classify, predict, and draw conclusions.
Examples of verbs or phrases to use to direct the desired learning task include: categorize, classify, compare, contrast, debate, deduct, determine the factors, diagnose, diagram, examine, and specify.

Synthesis

Requires the formulation of new understandings. If analysis stresses the parts, synthesis stresses the whole. Components of concepts may be reorganized into new patterns and new wholes. A student can originate, combine, and integrate parts of prior knowledge into a new product, plan, or proposal.
Examples of verbs or phrases to use to direct the desired learning task include: change, combine, compose, construct, create, design, find an unusual way, formulate, generate, invent, predict, produce, pretend, rearrange, reorganize, suggest, and visualize.

Evaluation

Is the highest level of learning results in the hierarchy. It includes all the other levels plus the ability to make judgment, assess, or criticize based on evidence and clearly defined criteria.
Examples of verbs or phrases to use to direct the desired learning task include: appraise, choose, compare, conclude, decide, defend, evaluate, give your opinion, judge, justify, prioritize, rank, rate, select, support, and value.

Trowbridge, L., Bybee, R., & Powell, J. (2000). Teaching Secondary School Science: Strategies for Developing Scientific Literacy. NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Wong, H., & Wong, T. (1998). How to be an Effective Teacher: The First Days of School. CA: Harry K. Wong Publications.

II. Where do Questions & Performance Tasks Fall?

There is an art to asking questions. You should ask questions that are clear, logically sequenced, and adapted to the level of the learners, (Goethals, et. al., 2004). The types of performance tasks we have students perform are equally important to their level of learning. As beginning teachers, we should consider making use of a chart similar to the one below, recording a sampling of the questions and/or performance tasks we ask of our students, either during instruction or assessment. Referring to the information on Bloom’s Taxonomy on the previous page, we can determine which cognitive level our question/tasks address, making an effort to develop those that incorporate all levels of thinking.

Questions/ Performance TasksKnowledgeComprehensionApplicationAnalysisSynthesisEvaluation
 
 
 

The best use of this chart is to record all anticipated questions or tasks for a particular lesson and determine the cognitive range of questioning and performance, as well as their frequency at specific levels. It is also an excellent planning tool for preparing assessment questions and tasks.

The idea for this chart is credited to:

Goethals, M., et. al. (2004). Student Teaching: A Process Approach to Reflective Practice. NJ: Pearson, Merrill Prentice Hall.