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Thinking Skills - Bloom's Taxonomy

Benjamin Bloom is widely recognised as the foremost thinker in the field of defining educational objectives.  Early in the twentieth century, he developed a classification system (a taxonomy) of educational objectives - which he initially divided into three domains:  COGNITIVE, AFFECTIVE and PSYCHO-MOTOR.  Objectives within the Cognitive domain are shown in the following table:


KNOWLEDGE - Information gathering



Student remembers or recognises information, ideas and principles in the approximate form in which they were learned.


Skills demonstrated

  • observation and recall of information

  • knowledge of dates, events, places

  • knowledge of major ideas

  • mastery of subject matter.

Associated vocabulary = collect, define, describe, examine, identify, know, label, list, memorise, name, quote, recall, recite, remember, repeat, tabulate, tell, what, when, where, who.


COMPREHENSION - Understanding



Student demonstrates understanding of concepts and principles.


Skills demonstrated

  • understanding information

  • grasping meaning

  • translating knowledge into new context

  • interpreting facts, comparing, contrasting

  • ordering, grouping, inferring causes

  • predicting consequences.

Associated vocabulary = associate, compare, contrast, describe, differentiate, discuss, distinguish, estimate, explain, extend, give examples, how, illustrate, interpret, paraphrase, predict, show, summarise, understand.


APPLICATION - Making use of knowledge



Student selects, transfers and uses knowledge (skills) and principles learned in one context to complete a problem or task in another.


Skills demonstrated

  • using information

  • using methods, concepts, theories in new situations

  • solving problems using acquired skills or knowledge.

Associated vocabulary = apply, calculate, change, classify, complete, compute, construct, demonstrate, discover, examine, experiment, illustrate, modify, relate, show, solve, use.


ANALYSIS - Understanding structure



Student understands structure, purpose and relationships between the elements of a statement, question or hypothesis. 


Skills demonstrated

  • seeing patterns

  • organization of parts

  • recognition of hidden meanings

  • identification of components.

Associated vocabulary = analyse, arrange, categorise, classify, compare, connect, contrast, divide, explain, infer, investigate, order, select, separate, solve, why.


EVALUATION - Judging the outcome



Student appraises, assesses, or critiques against specific standards and criteria and supports that judgement.


Skills demonstrated

  • comparing and discriminating between ideas

  • assessing value of theories, presentations

  • making choices based on reasoned argument

  • verifying value of evidence

  • recognizing subjectivity.

Associated vocabulary = argue, assess, compare, conclude, convince, criticise, critique, decide, discriminate, evaluate, explain, express opinion, grade, judge, justify, measure, predict, rank, recommend, select, summarise, support, test.


SYNTHESIS - Creating new combinations



Student originates, integrates, and combines ideas into a product, plan or proposal that is new to him or her.


Skills demonstrated

  • using old ideas to create new ones

  • generalizing from given facts

  • relating knowledge from several areas

  • predicting

  • drawing conclusions.

Associated vocabulary = combine, compose, construct, create, design, develop, forecast, formulate, generalise, hypothesise, imagine, innovate, integrate, interpret, invent, modify, plan, prepare, rearrange, rewrite, substitute, what if?


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Although not strictly relevant to Thinking Skills, objectives within the Affective and Psychomotor domains are shown below.





 Being aware of or attending to something in the environment.


 Showing some new behaviour as a result of experience.


 Showing some definite involvement or commitment.


Integrating a new value into one's general set of values, giving it some ranking among one's general priorities.

Characterisation by value

 Acting consistently with the new value.



Reflex movements

Actions that occur involuntarily in response to some stimulus.

Basic fundamental movements

Innate movement patterns formed from a combination of reflex movements.

Perceptual abilities

Translation of stimuli received through the senses into appropriate movements.

Physical abilities

Basic movements and abilities that are essential to the development of more highly skilled movements.

Skilled movements

More complex movements requiring a certain degree of efficiency.

Non-discursive movements

Ability to communicate through body movement.