We know from research that teaching our students higher order thinking skills is one of the most beneficial steps we can take. These are the skills they truly need to succeed beyond school, after all. But do our examinations and activities reflect this need? To help you find out, educator Andrew Churches has devised two very useful Bloom’s analysis tools available on his website Edorigami.
Many examinations and activities place an emphasis on skills like remembering and understanding. Unfortunately this leaves little room for incorporating the Bloom’s taxonomic levels of higher order thinking like analysis, evaluation, and creativity.
These two tools specifically analyze the Bloom’s taxonomic levels of activities and assessments. They investigate the balance between Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) and Lower Order Thinking Skills (LOTS). In doing so, they help you improve the taxonomic focus of your exams and activities or units. Download each tool by clicking on the image or the link below it.
A Brief Look at Bloom’s Taxonomy
Here is a diagram of Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy, revised by Churches. Below it is an infographic that shows the Communication Spectrum of the taxonomy. They’ll be a handy reference when using these Bloom’s analysis tools.
Bloom’s Analysis Tools for Examinations
Do your examinations and assessments favour higher or lower order thinking? This tool analyzes the different taxonomic levels in a test or examination.
It uses the action verbs usually associated with each taxonomic level. You then match the taxonomic level to the questions, enter the marks into the corresponding cell, and repeat the process.
Next you calculate the percentage of the paper/assessment at each taxonomic level. This will indicate how much of the test’s content examines HOTS and LOTS.
The process in using this tool is as follows:
- Analyze each test question matching the question number to the corresponding verbs.
- Add the mark value for each question to the appropriate column (corresponding to the verb).
- Total each column and then total the mark value in each category (taxonomic level).
- Calculate the percentage of the test which is based at each taxonomic level.
Ultimately there are no right or wrong values or weightings. However, we know that higher order thinking skills and processes are preferable to lower order thinking skills like fact recall or simple repetition of definitions.
Bloom’s Analysis Tools for Activities
This tool analyzes the taxonomic level of a learning activity, task, or unit. It gives you a simple overview of the activity or unit and provides a quick perspective on task construction.
In addition, an optional extension of the tool requires you to enter the estimated time spent on each task element. Once you’ve done this, you can calculate a percentage of total time spent on each taxonomic level.
The process is essentially similar to the Bloom’s exam tool above:
- Enter the learning activities, elements, or sequences in the first column of the table.
- Match each activity to the keyword that best corresponds to it.
- Examine the proportions of the activity at each level.
Optional Time Analysis:
- Enter the estimated time spent on each aspect/activity in the columns.
- Calculate the total time spent on each taxonomic level as a percentage.
Hopefully you find these Bloom’s analysis tools useful in your own classroom practices. Be sure to share, and visit Edorigami for more helpful info on Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy.