Bloom's Taxonomy
Fall 2001
Student Information Form
We do not teach the brain to think; it does that automatically. However, we can help students learn better by helping them organize information in such a way that they can do more with it. Unfortunately, studies show that most of the focus in schools is on the lower levels of thinking. Teachers and students are primarily concerned with learning content and parroting it back. This is not the way to develop critical thinking skills and make life-long learners.
One of the best guides in the quest to move students from the lower levels of thinking to the upper levels, is Bloom's Taxonomy. Developed back in the 1950's by Benjamin Bloom, it is every bit as applicable today as it was then.
According to this model there are six levels of thinking. Starting from the bottom, they are:

1. Knowledge- the lowest level - is the simple recall of previously learned material

2. Comprehension - involves the ability to make sense of the material

3. Application - is the ability to use the learned material in a new situation with a minimum amount of help or direction

4. Analysis - is the ability to break material into its component parts so that its structure may be understood

5. Synthesis - is the ability to put parts together to form a plan that is new to the learner

6. Evaluation - the highest level - involves the ability to judge the value of material based on certain criteria

ladder showing stages of Bloom's Taxonomy as described The upper 3 levels (analysis, synthesis, evaluation) describe a divergent thinking process whereby new insights and thoughts, which were not a part of the original content, result . These 3 levels often overlap each other.

The lower 3 levels (knowledge, comprehension, application) comprise a convergent thinking process, where information learned at the first and second levels is brought together at the third level and applied.

For practical and specific suggestions for activities that correspond to each level of Bloom's Taxonomy go to Nick's Tips for Teachers
For more on the taxonomy itself go to:

Bloom's Taxonomy Condensed

Blooms Taxonomy