ADVERTISEMENT |  REMOVE ADS

Levels of Questions in Bloom's Taxonomy

Critical thinking is a crucial 21st Century and social-emotional skill

Challenge students in all grade levels with various types of questions as defined by Bloom's Taxonomy. They will be doing higher-level thinking and you will have a more interesting classroom! New teachers will find this resource particularly valuable. Includes an in-depth discussion of the different levels of questioning with suggested examples to help you form your own higher-level questions to use in your classroom.

Looking for more resources on 21st Century skills and social-emotional learning? Find them in our FutureFit resources center.

Teaching Strategies:
Grades:
K |
1 |
2 |
3 |
4 |
5 |
6 |
7 |
8 |
9 |
10 |
11 |
CREATE NEW FOLDER
Cancel
Page 1 of 2

Levels of Questions in Bloom's Taxonomy

The goal of classroom questioning is not to determine whether students have learned something (as would be the case in tests, quizzes, and exams), but rather to guide students to help them learn necessary information and material. Questions should be used to teach students rather than to just test students!

Teachers frequently spend a great deal of classroom time testing students through questions. In fact, observations of teachers at all levels of education reveal that most spend more than 90 percent of their instructional time testing students (through questioning). And most of the questions teachers ask are typically factual questions that rely on short-term memory.

Jabberwocky

Taxonomy is an orderly classification of items according to a systematic relationship (low to high, small to big, simple to complex).

Although questions are widely used and serve many functions, teachers tend to overuse factual questions such as “What is the capital of California?” Not surprising, many teachers ask upward of 400 questions each and every school day. And approximately 80 percent of all the questions teachers ask tend to be factual, literal, or knowledge-based questions. The result is a classroom in which there is little creative thinking taking place.

It's been my experience that one all-important factor is key in the successful classroom: students tend to read and think based on the kinds of questions they anticipate receiving from the teacher. If students are constantly bombarded with questions that require only low levels of intellectual involvement (or no involvement whatsoever), they will tend to think accordingly. Conversely, students who are given questions based on higher levels of thinking will tend to think more creatively and divergently.

Many years ago, an educator named Benjamin Bloom developed a classification system we now refer to as Bloom's Taxonomy to assist teachers in recognizing their various levels of question-asking (among other things). The system contains six levels, which are arranged in hierarchical form, moving from the lowest level of cognition (thinking) to the highest level of cognition (or from the least complex to the most complex):

Fire Alarm

Observations of both elementary and secondary classrooms has shown that teachers significantly overuse knowledge questions. In fact, during the course of an average day, many teachers will ask upward of 300 or more knowledge-based questions.

  • Knowledge

  • Comprehension

  • Application

  • Analysis

  • Synthesis

  • Evaluation

Knowledge

This is the lowest level of questions and requires students to recall information. Knowledge questions usually require students to identify information in basically the same form it was presented. Some examples of knowledge questions include …

  • “What is the biggest city in Japan?”

  • “Who wrote War and Peace?

  • “How many ounces in a pound?”

Words often used in knowledge questions include know, who, define, what, name, where, list, and when.

Expert Opinion

Never end a presentation by asking, “Are there any questions?” This is the surest way to turn off students. Instead, say something like, “Take five minutes and write down two questions you have about the lesson. Share those questions and discuss possible answers with a partner.”

Comprehension

Simply stated, comprehension is the way in which ideas are organized into categories. Comprehension questions are those that ask students to take several bits of information and put them into a single category or grouping. These questions go beyond simple recall and require students to combine data together. Some examples of comprehension questions include …

  • “How would you illustrate the water cycle?”

  • “What is the main idea of this story?”

  • “If I put these three blocks together, what shape do they form?”

Words often used in comprehension questions include describe, use your own words, outline, explain, discuss, and compare.

Jabberwocky

In analysis, you move from the whole to the parts. In synthesis, you move from the parts to the whole.

Application

At this level, teachers ask students to take information they already know and apply it to a new situation. In other words, they must use their knowledge to determine a correct response. Some examples of application questions include …

  • “How would you use your knowledge of latitude and longitude to locate Greenland?”

  • “What happens when you multiply each of these numbers by nine?”

  • “If you had eight inches of water in your basement and a hose, how would you use the hose to get the water out?”

Words often used in application questions include apply, manipulate, put to use, employ, dramatize, demonstrate, interpret, and choose.

Excerpted from

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Success as a Teacher
Anthony D. Fredericks, Ed.D.

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Success as a Teacher © 2005 by Anthony D. Fredericks. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

Your Free Gift

The Ultimate Back-to-School Guide

Teachers are always thinking about their students, but devotion to their progress shouldn’t come at the expense of your own. That’s why we’ve created an “Ultimate Back-to-School Guide” for teachers based on our nine future-ready skill domains.

What you can expect from this guide:

  • Learn 9 ways to become a better teacher by developing a positive mindset.
  • Links to dozens of free resources curated by our experts to help you both in and outside the classroom.
  • Clear steps to improve your teaching and general well-being.

Sign up for a premium membership to get your Ultimate Back-to-School Guide absolutely free!

SIGN UP TO CLAIM YOUR FREE GIFT

ultimate back-to-school guide for teachers

Go Premium

Get unlimited, ad-free access to all of TeacherVision's printables and resources for as low as $2.49 per month. We have a plan for every budget. 

Select a plan

All plans include a free trial and enjoy the same features. Cancel anytime.
Learn more about Premium

Register