Back in 1956, a committee chaired by psychologist Benjamin Bloom developed a taxonomy of learning objectives which today is referred to as Bloom’s Taxonomy or Bloom’s Educational Taxonomy.
Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning includes 6 Domains:
These six domains represent a continuum of learning, or levels of learning, and help educators specify how students demonstrate what they’ve learned in that domain. In other words, each level, or domain, has a breadth and depth of knowledge the student has about the subject matter. Let me explain more.
Level 1. Knowledge
At the base or bottom of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning is Knowledge. This involves the student being able to demonstrate having an acquired knowledge of basic facts on a subject. Objectives at this level can be described using the following verbs:
Textbook questions often ask basic questions at the end of each chapter to see what basic knowledge the student has acquired from the textbook.
Level 2. Comprehension
On the second level of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning is Comprehension. This involves the student understanding ideas or concepts on a subject in addition to or instead of having knowledge of basic facts (level 1). Objectives at this level can be described using the following verbs:
- give examples
Many textbooks and tests are moving away from comprehension level questions because they require explanation and are not easy to peg as right or wrong. That means they have to be hand-graded rather than administered via a standardized test.
Level 3. Application
On the third level of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning is Application. This involves the student applying knowledge of a subject in order to find solutions to problems. In order for the student to apply knowledge they have learned, they must also comprehend it. That is how the levels build on each other. Objectives at this level can be described using the following verbs:
Any one subject is too large to learn everything possible about it. However, you can narrow the parts of a subject that are important for the student to know in order to be able to apply this knowledge to another course. For example, a good grasp of algebra is necessary to move onto trigonometry and calculus. Another example is chemistry which is necessary for further study in biological sciences and zoology.
Level 4. Analysis
On the fourth level of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning is Analysis. This involves the student being able to pick apart pieces of a concept or parts of a problem and relate them to the whole. Objectives at this level can be described using the following verbs:
- point out
Questions at this level concern the student’s mastery of a subject.
Level 5. Synthesis
On the fifth level of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning is Synthesis. This involves the student being able to create something new or to develop an original idea related to the subject. Objectives at this level can be described using the following verbs:
Questions at this level are usually projects that require a great deal of knowledge, comprehension, application, and analysis. Pulling all of these together to create something is called synthesis.
Level 6. Evaluation
On the sixth level of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning is Evaluation. This involves the student being able to judge the value of ideas or products created in relation to a subject area. It doesn’t matter if they are the creator or if it was created by someone else. Objectives at this level can be described using the following verbs:
Questions at this level are critiques, comparisons, and evaluations.
How to Use the Taxonomy
Parents who are very concerned about Scope and Sequence or creating a Syllabus for each course they teach can use this taxonomy and the verbs at each level to describe the learning objectives. Please understand this is not required of any homeschooling parent, but it does help evaluate how prepared your children are for other learning opportunities as well as for the real world and future careers.
Children in public schools receive carbon copies of “objectives achieved” at the end of each school year. These usually show what level of mastery the student has achieved in each skill area and/or subject. It is used in assigning grades as well. When a child does not show sufficient advancement in a skills area or subject they are often held back a year.