Bloom's Taxonomy - Writing Learning Objectives That Measure Up

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

As we learned in Bloom’s Taxonomy (Part 2), the benefits of using Bloom’s in assessment are twofold – helping educators to both measure student learning and make necessary adjustments to improve student learning. While it may take a bit of extra consideration on the part of the educator, writing learning objectives for the curriculum that are tied to Bloom’s Taxonomy – and tagging assessment items to these learning outcomes – can provide the much-needed insight that leads to successful student learning.

Constructing Effective Objectives

When preparing a curriculum, it’s important to note how the lesson plan and assessment questions align with the six levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. By creating learning objectives using key verbs that correlate to the appropriate Bloom’s level, educators can more effectively gauge student learning and identify opportunities for improvement.

Remembering

When writing objectives designed to assess the recognition of basic principles, consider 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.

Understanding

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 level.

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

Applying

Writing objectives at the Applying level of Bloom’s Taxonomy requires 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.

Analyzing

Objectives 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.

Evaluating

The Evaluating level of Bloom’s requires calling on a student’s ability to make a judgment based on specific criteria. Verbs for this level might 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.

Creating

Objectives designed to measure the highest level of Bloom’s Taxonomy present 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 are the best fit for the Bloom’s Taxonomy levels you wish to assess. 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.

Published: July 23, 2019

Updated: March 7, 2022

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