Bloom’s Taxonomy Basics

Bloom’s Taxonomy (Part 1): Bloom’s Basics

Before a new semester begins, it’s important that educators reassess their curriculum. Have the learning objectives changed? How well do students retain the information and how do they demonstrate their knowledge? Is there a better way to teach certain content to reach the desired outcomes?

One way instructors can improve student learning outcomes, as well as assessment and teaching strategies, is to view student learning and curriculum through the lens of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Named after educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom, Bloom’s Taxonomy is a framework of cognitive levels as they relate to learning. Consisting of six levels of cognition, Bloom’s Taxonomy classifies a student’s relationship to assigned learning objectives. From highest to lowest, the six levels are as follows:

  • Create: Is the student able to produce original work from learned concepts?
  • Evaluate: Can the student appraise, argue, and justify a point of view?
  • Analyze: Can the student connect (compare and contrast) various concepts?
  • Apply: Is the student able to use the information in a new scenario?
  • Understand: Is the student able to explain key concepts and ideas?
  • Remember: Can the student easily recall course content?

Bloom's Taxonomy Chart

The levels follow a hierarchy, each building on the level below it. This framework can guide educators as they help students move from primary to more complex cognitive abilities and learning outcomes.

In Part 2 of this series, we’ll discuss how applying Bloom’s Taxonomy in assessment can help educators take a deeper look into learning and drive academic achievement for students and programs overall.


Vanderbilt University: Bloom’s Taxonomy

Published: July 15, 2019

Updated: September 20, 2022

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