Designing Exam Questions Based on Bloom's Taxonomy

Designing exam questions based on Bloom's Taxonomy can be an effective way to assess students' learning and understanding of a subject. The taxonomy, developed by Benjamin Bloom and his colleagues in the 1950s, is a framework that categorizes cognitive skills into six levels of increasing complexity. By aligning exam questions with these levels, teachers can create assessments that measure not only students' factual knowledge, but also their ability to apply, analyze, evaluate, and create new ideas. In this essay, we will explore the six levels of Bloom's Taxonomy, the appropriate vocabulary to use for each level, and provide examples of exam questions that align with each level.
  1. Remembering: This level involves recalling information from memory, such as definitions, dates, and formulas.
    Vocabulary to use for this level includes: define, recall, memorize, match, quote, state, describe, recall, list, name, and identify.
    Example exam question: Define the term "photosynthesis."
  2. Understanding: This level involves comprehending the meaning of the material, including interpreting and translating information.
    Vocabulary to use for this level includes: summarize, explain, interpret, paraphrase, infer, compare, exemplify, generalise and translate.
    Example exam question: Explain the process of photosynthesis in your own words.
  3. Applying: This level involves using information in a new situation, such as applying a concept to a new problem or situation.
    Vocabulary to use for this level includes: apply, demonstrate, use, illustrate, solve, execute, modify, relate, change and show.
    Example exam question: Apply the concept of photosynthesis to explain how plants grow.
  4. Analyzing: This level involves breaking down information into its component parts and understanding the relationships between them.
    Vocabulary to use for this level includes: analyze, compare, contrast, classify, categorize, analyze, decompose, differentiate, and distinguish.
    Example exam question: Analyze the role of chlorophyll in the process of photosynthesis.
  5. Evaluating: This level involves making judgments about the value or quality of something based on evidence or criteria.
    Vocabulary to use for this level includes: evaluate, judge, appraise, compare, support, defend, assess, and justify.
    Example exam question: Evaluate the importance of photosynthesis in maintaining the Earth's ecosystem.
  6. Creating: This level involves combining information in a new way to create something original.
    Vocabulary to use for this level includes: create, plan, produce, develop, formulate, arrange, construct, design, and invent.
    Example exam question: Create a new product or process that utilizes the principles of photosynthesis.
Conclusion:
Designing exam questions based on Bloom's Taxonomy allows teachers to assess students' learning at multiple levels of complexity. By aligning questions with the appropriate level of the taxonomy, teachers can create assessments that measure not only students' factual knowledge, but also their ability to apply, analyze, evaluate, and create new ideas. By using the appropriate vocabulary and providing examples, teachers can effectively design exam questions that challenge and engage students in their learning.

References:
Bloom, B. S., Engelhart, M. D., Furst, E. J., Hill, W. H., & Krathwohl, D. R. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals. New York: David McKay.
Krathwohl, D. R. (2002). A revision of Bloom's taxonomy: An overview. Theory into Practice, 41(4), 212-218.
Marzano, R. J., & Kendall, J. S. (2013). The new taxonomy of educational objectives. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press

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