Bloom’s Taxonomy-Action Verbs Requiring Cognitive Outcomes

 

 

 

 

Critical Thinking

Evaluation

 

Judge

 

 

Synthesis

Appraise

 

Design

Estimate

 

Analysis

Plan

Evaluate

 

Compare

Compose

Revise

 

Application

Distinguish

Propose

Score

 

Use

Differentiate

Formulate

Select

 

Comprehension

Employ

Diagram

Arrange

Rate

 

Express

Interpret

Analyze

Assemble

Choose

Knowledge

Restate

Dramatize

Categorize

Collect

Measure

Define

Identify

Sketch

Appraise

Construct

Compare

Repeat

Explain

Practice

Experiment

Create

Value

Name

Recognize

Illustrate

Test

Setup

Assess

Recall

Discuss

Operate

Contrast

Organize

 

List

Describe

Demonstrate

Inspect

Prepare

 

Relate

Tell

Apply

Debate

Manage

 

Record

Locate

Schedule

Inventory

Predict

 

Underline

Report

Show

Question

 

 

Outline

Review

Translate

Examine

 

 

Delineate

Summarize

Interpret

Criticize

 

 

Specify

 

Solve

Relate

 

 

State

 

Sketch

Solve

 

 

Label

 

 

Calculate

 

 

Match

 

 

Critique

 

 

Avoid the word "understand!"

 

 

Classify

 

 

 

 

 

Action Verbs.doc

12/2003
Language Standards for Course Outlines

 

In 1956 Benjamin Bloom edited the now classic Taxonomy of Instructional Objectives. He maintained that not only was the identification of program or course objectives inherently valuable for clarifying the purpose of the educational offering, but that well constructed objectives guided selection and organization of learning experiences. This, of course, is a key consideration to promoting not only the achievement of the objectives, they are educational outcomes or standards against which we can evaluate achievement. The Taxonomy identified three areas in which learning takes place and which can be addressed by objectives or standards – the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains.

 

The Cognitive Domain  We are most accustomed to dealing with the cognitive domain, which deals with the recall or recognition of knowledge and the development of intellectual ability. Six major classes are usually identified: (a) knowledge, (b) comprehension, (c) application, (d) analysis, (e) synthesis, and (f) evaluation. Each of these classes becomes progressively more complex and in theory builds upon the previous level. In other words, not only is synthesis a more complex operation than knowledge, but the ability to synthesize depends upon the foundation of knowledge possessed by the learner.

 

The following list of verbs is arranged by the classes above. The verbs are measurable and observable behaviors expected of the learner. While it is certainly admirable to “gain an understanding,” it is not possible to observe or measure understanding itself. What does the learner have to do to indicate that he or she “understands?” Use of an action verb enables both the teacher and learner to know what comprises successful learning. It is preferable to use only one verb in each standard although there are instances when two are needed for clarity or texture.

 

Knowledge:  (Standards that ask the learner to recognize and recall facts and specifics)

 

          define               delineate           specify

          outline              memorize         repeat

          record              list                    state

          recall                name                relate

          label                 match

 

Comprehension:  (Standards that ask the learner to summarize or paraphrase given information)

 

          restate             discuss             describe

          summarize       recognize          explain

          express            identify             locate

          report               review              tell

 

Application:   (Standards that ask the learner to use information in a situation different from the original learning context)

 

          translate           interpret           apply

          employ             use                   demonstrate (a skill)

          dramatize         practice            illustrate

          operate            solve                schedule

          show                sketch

 

Analysis:    (Standards that ask the learner to separate the whole into its parts, to better understand the organization of the whole and the relationships between the parts)

 

          distinguish         analyze             differentiate

          appraise            examine           criticize

          critique             classify             calculate

          experiment       test                  compare

          contrast            diagram            inspect

          debate              inventory          question

          relate                solve                examine

          categorize

 

Synthesis:  (Standards that ask the learner to combine elements learned into a new entity)

 

          compose          plan                  propose

          design               formulate          arrange

          assemble          collect               predict

          create               design               set up

          organize           manage            prepare

          construct

 

Evaluation:   (Standards that ask the learner to make decisions, judge, or select based on criteria and rationale)

 

          judge                appraise            evaluate

          rate                  compare           measure

          revise               score                select

          choose             assess              estimate

          value

 

The Affective Domain       Objectives or standards which emphasize a feeling tone, an emotion, or a degree of acceptance or rejection fall within the affective domain. They are sometimes classed simply as attitudes. These standards require internalization, not just acquiring a body of knowledge. In the history of curriculum construction and the study of objectives, a marked decrease, almost a cessation, has occurred in the attention given the affective domain. This almost assuredly is not due to a belief that this is an unimportant area, but is due instead to the difficulty encountered in stating observable behaviors for measurement of these standards.

The key to observing desired outcomes in the affective domain lies with a choice of personal action that the learner is expected to exhibit. Often, learner self-assessment measures are used to evaluate these standards or outcomes. Since choices are often inextricably linked to a situation, frequently the situation under which the behavior is expected must be stated. For example, a nursing student would demonstrate an enjoyment of being or becoming a nurse if spare time during the day is spent with a patient rather than at the nurses’ station. A student would demonstrate an increased appreciation or interest gained from a survey art appreciation course by the numbers and varieties of museums or exhibits attended voluntarily.

The achievement of an affective standard is often not a met/not met situation, but rather achievement somewhere on a continuum since it is a process of learner internalization and change. Bloom and his colleagues felt that there were levels of complexity within the affective domain as there were within the cognitive domain. A learner would first become aware of a phenomenon and be able to perceive it, then be willing to focus on it, followed by a positive response and eventually a seeking out behavior. These levels are identified as (a) receiving, (b) responding, (c) valuing, (d) organization, and (e) characterization by a value.

The Pyschomotor Domain         This domain largely involves motor skills, one of the most obvious kinds of human capabilities. A verb very frequently associated with this domain is execute. The emphasis is on the performance of certain specified skills. Frequently these outcomes are criterion-referenced and the learner is held against a specified standard. An example for a student learning word processing would be a set words-per-minute expectation.

The standards (objectives or outcomes) are pivotal in the construction of a good course outline. They operationalize the purpose of the course and provide a basis for evaluation. However, even more importantly they identify clearly for the learner what he or she is expected to do or learn to be successful.

Phil Reagan

August 2008

TechNotes\Bloom.doc