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Bloom’s Taxonomy (Part 3): Writing Learning Objectives That Measure Up

It has been mentioned time and time again. You can’t improve learning if you can’t measure it. And while it may take a bit of extra consideration on the part of the educator, writing learning outcomes that are tied specifically to Bloom’s Taxonomy will provide the much-needed insight that leads to successful student learning.

Constructing Effective Objectives
When preparing a curriculum for your students, it’s important to note how your lesson plan aligns with the tiers of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Create learning objectives using key verbs that trigger the knowledge, or lack thereof, of the Bloom’s level associated with your curriculum.

When writing objectives designed to assess the recognition of basic principles, words that trigger students’ ability to recall information work best. Verbs such as “define,” “list,” or “outline” fall under this category.

Ex. Students should be able to list the chambers of the heart.

Assessing the way students interpret the curriculum calls for objectives that help students present information at a deeper level. Verbs such as “explain,” “summarize,” and “distinguish” work well at this Bloom’s level.

Ex. Students should be able to easily explain the function of the left and right ventricle.

Writing objectives at the Applying level of Bloom’s requires trigger words that help students demonstrate how information is used to complete a task. Verbs such as “solve,” “demonstrate,” and “prepare” are suitable at this level.

Ex. When presented with images of ventricular hypertrophy, students should be able to prepare an order for the necessary tests associated with the diagnosis.

Objectives involving words that help gauge how well a student distinguishes presented evidence are key when it comes to assessing at the Analyzing level of Bloom’s. Verbs that best apply to this level include “predict,” “compare,” and “manipulate.”

Ex. When presented with images depicting left ventricular hypertrophy in a set of patients over time, students should be able to compare the changes seen during a specified period.

The Evaluating level of Bloom’s requires calling on a student’s ability to make a judgment based on specific criteria. Trigger verbs for this level include “defend,” “justify,” and “determine.”

Ex. Students should be able to determine the best course of treatment for an initial diagnosis of left ventricular hypertrophy based on a patient’s specific medical history.

Writing objectives designed to measure the highest level of Bloom’s Taxonomy presents students with the opportunity to take what they’ve learned and make it their own. Verbs best suited for guiding them through this process include “generate,” “modify,” and “develop.”

Ex. When presented with a failed initial treatment of left ventricular hypertrophy, students should be able to develop an adapted treatment plan with possible outcomes.

With a little time and effort, you’ll become more familiar with which verbs best associate with the Bloom’s Taxonomy levels you wish to assess. Until then, a quick Google search will lend plenty of charts to keep handy as you map your curriculum for the semester.

Providing students with the right information is just a start. Properly measuring how they comprehend that information is key, and with robust learning objectives designed with Bloom’s in mind, you’re well on your way to equipping your students to achieve academic success.

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