Taxonomy of Educational Objectives
Another tool for the Tutors’ toolbox (September 2006)
Use Taxonomy of Educational Objectives
to Create Effective Assessments, Courses, Lesson Plans, Examinations.
Contrary to popular belief, assessments are valuable for far more than a simple measure of students’ acquired level of knowledge. Assessments serve a variety of functions including directing attention, focus, highlighting conceptual errors, motivating students’ interaction with course material, and, finally, determining students’ grades.
The importance of assessments is often overshadowed by the time and energy invested into classroom activities; but, "what students learn depends as much on your tests as your teaching". Ideally, an effective assessment will reflect the educational goals in relationship to the content areas of a designated course.
As highlighted in the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (Bloom), learning goals vary according to the level of understanding and/or skill desired. Consequently, learning begins at the bottom of the hierarchy (with simple knowledge) and cumulatively builds toward a deep understanding (as evident through the ability to evaluate information).
While many instructors have the goal of promoting higher-order cognitive abilities, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and novel application, typical assessments are often unable to effectively measure these skills.
Research has repeatedly found that students’ attention and focus are driven by the assessment measures not the educational goals of a course. Thus, if assessments focus primarily on the correct identification of factual information, students will devote their time and effort toward the shallow memorization of facts and definitions. On the other hand, if assessments require students to demonstrate a more complex understanding, students will concentrate their effort on acquiring the relevant skills. This leaves the instructor with the task of implementing measures that accurately reflect the desired educational objectives.
When designing assessments, instructors are faced with the dilemma of coordinating educational goals with an acceptable test format. While open-ended items, such as essay and fill-in-the-blank questions, often promote higher-order thinking, they are time-consuming to grade and are often not feasible for large-enrollment courses. Conversely, response-limited items, such as true-false and multiple-choice, can be easily graded but may limit the ability to assess higher-order learning.
The variety of question types available allows educators to implement structured assessments that reflect their true learning goals. Key to the effective application of these various question types, is the instructional design of the questions. While learning goals and the taxonomy of learning provide an excellent structure for designing assessment items, the educational impact of any assessment still rests in the content of individual questions.
The aim for the Tutor is to use all three domains when planning, teaching and testing courses. The tree domains are Affective (response), Cognitive (understanding) and Psychomotor (Skills). Here the key words/verbs are listed to assist you write the ‘specific’ objectives, and allocated, to the correct level.
Receiving Level 1:
Awareness, willingness to hear, selected attention.
Examples: Listen to others with respect. Listen for and remember the name of newly introduced people.
Key Words: asks, chooses, describes, follows, gives, holds, identifies, locates, names, points to, selects, sits, erects, replies, uses.
Responding Level 2:
Active participation on the part of the learners. Attends and reacts to a particular environment.
Examples: Learning outcomes may emphasize compliance in responding, willingness to respond, or satisfaction in responding (motivation). Participates in class discussions. Gives a low level presentation. Questions in order to fully understand. Know the safety rules and practices them.
Key Words: answers, assists, aids, complies, conforms, discusses, greets, helps, labels, performs, practices, presents, reads, recites, reports, selects, tells, writes.
Valuing Level 3:
The worth or value a person attaches to a particular object, environment, or behaviour. This ranges from simple acceptance to the more complex state of commitment. Valuing is based on a set of specified values, while clues to these values are expressed in the learners overt behaviour and are often identifiable.
Examples: Demonstrates belief in the coaching process. Is sensitive towards individual and cultural differences (value diversity). Shows the ability to solve problems. Proposes a plan to group improvement and follows through with commitment. Informs management on matters that one feels strongly about.
Key Words: completes, demonstrates, differentiates, explains, follows, forms, initiates, invites, joins, justifies, proposes, reads, reports, selects, shares, studies, works.
Organization Level 4:
Organizes values into priorities by contrasting different values, resolving conflicts between them, and creating an unique value system. The emphasis is on comparing, relating, and synthesizing values.
Examples: Recognizes the need for balance between freedom and responsible behaviour. Accepts responsibility for ones behaviour. Explains the role of systematic planning in solving problems. Accepts professional ethical standards. Creates a life plan in harmony with abilities, interests, and beliefs. Prioritizes time effectively to meet the needs of the organization, family, and self.
Key Words: adheres, alters, arranges, combines, compares, completes, defends, explains, formulates, generalizes, identifies, integrates, modifies, orders, organizes, prepares, relates, synthesizes.
Internalizing values (characterization) Level 5:
Has a value system that controls their behaviour. The behaviour is pervasive, consistent, predictable, and most importantly, characteristic of the learner. Instructional objectives are concerned with the student's general patterns of adjustment (personal, social, emotional).
Examples: Shows self-reliance when working independently. Cooperates in group activities (displays teamwork). Uses an objective approach in problem solving. Displays a professional commitment to ethical practice on a daily basis. Revises judgments and changes behaviour in light of new evidence. Values people for what they are, not how they look.
Key Words: acts, discriminates, displays, influences, listens, modifies, performs, practices, proposes, qualifies, questions, revises, serves, solves, verifies.
Knowledge Level 1:
Knowledge involves the remembering of terminology, facts, and methods. Typical knowledge assessments ask learners to
Key Words: define, describe, identify, label, list, match, or name.
Comprehension Level 2:
Comprehension requires an understanding of the meaning of conceptual information. An assessment of comprehension requires students to
Key Words: classify, convert, describe, discuss, estimate, generalize, or give examples.
Application Level 3:
Application involves the use of previously learned information in novel situations. To measure application knowledge, an instructor might ask students to
Key Words: chart, compute, construct, develop, implement, or predict.
Analysis Level 4: The ability to understand the organizational structure of information is referred to as analysis. Typical analysis assessments ask students to
Key Words: break down information into component parts, develop divergent conclusions, or make inferences.
Synthesis Level 5:
Synthesis involves the creative application of prior knowledge and skills to produce an original entity. An assessment might ask…
Key Words: measure, synthesis, understanding, learners to adapt, create, design, generate, or revise.
Evaluation Level 6:
Evaluation is the ability to judge the relative value of information based on prior knowledge. An evaluative assessment involves the ability to
Key Words: compare, contrast, criticise, critique, defend, or judge.
A chart of the key words are listed on next page…
Perception Level 1:
The ability to use sensory cues to guide motor activity. This ranges from sensory stimulation, through cue selection, to translation.
Examples: Detects non-verbal communication cues. Estimate where a ball will land after it is thrown and then moving to the correct location to catch the ball. Adjusts safety mats on the end decks (to cover all metal aspects). Adjusts the direction of the ‘push on’ mat so that it lands under the falling performer.
Key Words: chooses, describes, detects, differentiates, distinguishes, identifies, isolates, relates, selects.
Set Level 2:
Readiness to act. It includes mental, physical, and emotional sets. These three sets are dispositions that predetermine a persons response to different situations (sometimes called mindsets).
Examples: Knows and acts upon a sequence of steps in a manufacturing process. Recognize ones’ abilities and limitations. Shows desire to learn a new process (motivation). NOTE: This subdivision of Psychomotor is closely related with the "Responding" subdivision of the Affective domain.
Key Words: begins, displays, explains, moves, proceeds, reacts, shows, states, volunteers.
Guided Response Level 3:
The early stages in learning a complex skill that includes imitation and trial and error. Adequacy of performance is achieved by practicing.
Examples: Performs a mathematical equation as demonstrated. Follows instructions to build a trampoline routine. Responds hand-signals of instructor while learning to operate at training sessions.
Key Words: copies, traces, follows, react, reproduce, responds.
Mechanism Level 4:
This is the intermediate stage in learning a complex skill. Learned responses have become habitual and the movements can be performed with competitive confidence and proficiency.
Examples: Use a personal computer. Repair a fault. Apply correct about of force in order to complete a skill/move.
Key Words: assembles, calibrates, constructs, dismantles, displays, fastens, fixes, grinds, heats, manipulates, measures, mends, mixes, organizes, sketches.
Complex Overt Response Level 5:
The skillful performance of motor acts that involve complex movement patterns. Proficiency is indicated by a quick, accurate, and highly coordinated performance, requiring a minimum of energy. This category includes performing without hesitation, and automatic performance. For example, players are often utter sounds of satisfaction or expletives as soon as they hit their best and most difficult routine, because they can tell by the feel of the act what the result will produce.
Examples: Manoeuvres back to the centre cross on a trampoline. Operates a trampoline rig accurately. Displays competence while operates the rig.
Key Words: assembles, builds, calibrates, constructs, dismantles, displays, fastens, fixes, grinds, heats, manipulates, measures, mends, mixes, organizes, sketches.
NOTE: The Key Words are the same as Mechanism, but will have adverbs or adjectives that indicate that the performance is quicker, better, more accurate, etc.
Adaptation Level 6:
Skills are well developed and the individual can modify movement patterns to fit special requirements.
Examples: Responds effectively to unexpected experiences. Modifies instruction to meet the needs of the learners. Perform a task that was not originally intended to do (performer is not in danger and there was no danger in performing the different task).
Key Words: adapts, alters, changes, rearranges, reorganizes, revises, varies.
Origination Level 7:
Creating new movement patterns to fit a particular situation or specific problem. Learning outcomes emphasize creativity based upon highly developed skills.
Examples: Constructs a new theory. Develops a new and comprehensive training programming. Creates a new gymnastic routine.
Key Words: arranges, builds, combines, composes, constructs, creates, designs, initiate, makes, originates.
Key Verbs Part 1….
Key notes about Objective Item Writing.
The objective must:
ü be ‘student/pupil based’.
ü be ‘testable’ or included in a ‘pupil test’.
ü Be able to ‘stand alone’ without supporting statements.
ü Contain a ‘Key Verb’ taken from ‘Educational Taxonomy’.
ü Contain a ‘Stem or Performance’ statement.
ü Contain a ‘Condition’ statement.
ü Contain a ‘Standard’ statement.
Introduction to the ‘Objective Database’ for Tutors.
On screen buttons….
[ Print Preview ] Will display a screen of objective in the format for printing.
[ Save CSV ] Will download, to your computer, a text file, in data-list format ready to install into your own database.
[ Filters ] The most useful button, where you can search and arrange all objectives listed by course and filter the list by ‘practical’, ‘examination’, ‘subject’, ‘conditions’ and ‘performance’.
[ Reset Filters ] When clicked, will cancel the effects of the filter.
[ Quick Search ] [ Find it ] Helps you locate all the objectives with specific words associated to the search. ie. search for ‘Mechanics’ and all courses, with bio-mechanical objectives, will be listed.
[ GO TO TABLE ] This ‘drop down’ menu will help you switch between the tables ‘objectives’ and ‘Key Verb’. You can also click back to the homepage.
[ Previous ], [ Next ] or [ go to page] all assist with page navigation and page displays All these buttons are located at the bottom of the list of objectives screen.
To EDIT the objective database, use the mouse to scroll down (or use the sliding bar) and you will find an Detail View and EDIT Box. All that you need to do is click on an objective, from those listed, and it will fill-in all the data field boxes.
[Save Changes] click to save (live on-line) any changes that you make.
[Save New] saves the new objectives to the database.
This is a great function that will save you hours of typing. ie. all that you need do to allocate this objectives to a course is click the button listed at ‘course’ and click [Save New].
You have permissions to edit the ‘objectives database’ but you can not edit the Key Verbs. This is because the verbs have been allocated by educational professionals.
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