Tuesday, 29 January 2013

A review of an interpretation of Bloom's taxonomy.

"Bloom's Taxonomy Interpreted for Mathematics" by Lindsey Shorser

This is the 6th post in my blog series reviewing a bunch of education literature. The other posts can be found here:
  1. "When good teaching leads to bad results: The disasters of well taught Mathematics courses" by Alan Schoenfeld
  2. "A quick-start guide to the moore method" by Mahavier et al.
  3. "The inverted classroom in a large enrolment introductory physics course: a case study" by Simon Bates and Ross Galloway
  4. "Approaches to Learning: A Guide for Teachers" by Jordan et al.
  5. "A Characterization of Social Networks for Effective Communication and Collaboration in Computing Education" by G. Gannod and K. Bachman.
In the fourth post in my series I described briefly some of the learning models presented in "Approaches to Learning: A Guide for Teachers". One of the pedagogic models very well described in that book is Behaviouralism, and one important contribution to Behaviouralism is Bloom's taxonomy.
Bloom's taxonomy is a model that attempts to link external and internal behaviour (a feature lacking in classical Behaviouralism which only considered external stimuli as having an effect on learning). What bloom did was put together various levels of learning. Here's the Cognitive skills:
  1. Knowledge
  2. Comprehension
  3. Application
  4. Analysis
  5. Synthesis
  6. Evaluation
This document by Shorser (if my memory serves me correctly passed on to my by +Paul Harper) maps the above general taxonomy to mathematics.

The document first of all lists the above levels, describing them. It then goes on to list some keywords for evaluating each of them. For example: Knowledge - "List" and Evaluation - "Rank".

The final part of the document gives some examples of questions for each level of learning.


This is a handy little document to have if only to use as a cheat sheet (so to speak) when setting exam questions and evaluating students learning.

Here's my "PCUTL Mark" out of 10 which I'm using to say how useful this piece of literature is to me in the scheme of my pcutl portfolio (so it's not meant as a reflection of the quality of the paper which is subjective):

PCUTL Mark: 5 (Not extremely useful for PCUTL but a great reference document)