“A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy: An Overview,” by David R. Krathwohl

Krathwohl begins by defining his, his colleagues’, and Bloom’s project as follows: “The taxonomy of educational objectives is a framework for classifying statements of what we expect or intend students to learn as a result of instruction” (p. 212). Bloom’s original Taxonomy, Krathwohl goes on to note, “provided carefully developed definitions for each of the six major categories in the cognitive domain[—]Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation” (p.212, emphasis original). This framework “represented a cumulative hierarchy; that is, mastery of each simpler category was prerequisite to mastery of the next more complex one” (p. 212-213).

Krathwohl depicts the revision of this categorized list as a shift to “a two-dimensional framework,” with “Knowledge” on the x-axis and “Cognitive Processes” on the y-axis (p. 218). Krathwohl acknowledges that this “Taxonomy Table” is still “arranged in a hierarchical structure, but,” he contends, “not as rigidly as in the original Taxonomy” (p. 218).

Not coming from a strictly educational background (the extent of my explicit professional training being a Certificate in the Teaching of Writing), I found this article quite helpful. I also appreciated (and even enjoyed) Krathwohl’s syntactical analysis, wherein he (in part) described the shift from one dimension to two as one where the taxonomy’s descriptive nouns and verbs shift their significance in thinking about the act(s) of learning.

I also was struck by an assertion of Krathwohl’s that echoed my experience when first examining the revision, where my eyes almost immediately went to the gaps: “The panorama of possibilities presented by the Taxonomy Table causes one to look at blank areas and reflect on missed teaching opportunities” (p. 217).

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