Understanding and using Bloom’s revised taxonomy is crucial to creating significant learning experiences as an instructional designer and educator. An essential part of the course design process is aligning the Bloom’s levels with the topic. If you’re teaching spelling, then the majority of learning will be in the lower levels. The intended outcome is to have a student know the facts: how to spell cat, or dog, or even taxonomy. At this level, you would use a straightforward assessment tool.

“Take out your paper…number from 1-20…#1 – spell the word CAT.”

However, if you’re teaching a college-level philosophy class, your focus is on the higher-order levels. Assessing the student’s learning requires more than a simple test that is focused on recalling facts.

Unlike a spelling test, a philosophy assessment might critique Plato’s allegory of the Cave. Now that’s critical thinking! (and possibly a headache from overthinking)

It’s not always easy to determine the appropriate Bloom’s level for the learning outcome. When I work with an instructor, I find it helpful to use a simple explanation of each Bloom’s level. This allows the instructor to evaluate the content and decide if the level is appropriate.

Level 1: Remember

This level helps us recall foundational information and facts: names, dates, formulas, and definitions.

Level 2: Understand

Understanding means that we can explain the main ideas and concepts of a topic and translate that into meaning by interpreting, classifying, summarizing, inferring, comparing, and explaining.

Level 3: Apply

Application allows us to recognize and use the concepts in real-world situations and when, where, or how to employ methods and ideas.

Level 4: Analyze

Analysis means breaking a topic or idea into components or examining a subject from different perspectives. Analysis helps reveal the connections between facts. It allows us to see how the “whole” is created from the “parts.”

Level 5: Synthesize

Synthesizing means considering individual elements together to draw conclusions, identifying themes, or determining common elements. Here you want to shift from “parts” to “whole.”

Level 6: Evaluate

Evaluating means making judgments about something based on criteria and standards. This requires checking and critiquing an argument or concept to form an opinion about its value. Often there is not a straightforward or correct answer to this type of question. Instead, it’s about making a judgment and supporting it with reasons and evidence.

Level 7: Create

Creating involves putting elements together to form a coherent or functional whole. Creating includes reorganizing elements into a new pattern or structure through planning. This is the highest and most advanced level of Bloom’s Taxonomy.*


Anderson, L. W., Krathwohl, D.R., Airasian, P.W., Cruikshank, K.A., Mayer, R.E., Pintrich, P.R., & Wittrock, M.C (2001). A taxonomy of learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. New York, NY: Longman.

Source: Lynne MacBain

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