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Using Bloom's Taxonomy to Create Higher Order Thinking

Benjamin Bloom, while working at the University of Chicago in 1956, developed his theory on Educational Objectives. In 2001, the taxonomy was revised.  Below you will see the changes:


The revised Bloom's also addresses the Cognitive Domain and the Knowledge Domain.  It is the cognitive domain that helps us write learning objectives.  Notice the hierarchical levels.  Undergraduate students are expected to move up through the three lower levels while graduate students are expected to work at the higher cognitive levels.

The cognitive process dimension represents a continuum of increasing cognitive complexityfrom remember to create. The table below lists categories, cognitive processes, and alternative names.

Remember Understand Apply Analyze Evaluate Create
  • recognizing (identifying)
  • recalling (retrieving)
  • interpreting (clarifying, paraphrasing, representing, translating)
  • exemplifying (illustrating, instantiating)
  • classifying (categorizing, subsuming)
  • summarizing (abstracting, generalizing)
  • inferring (concluding, extrapolating, interpolating, predicting)
  • comparing (contrasting, mapping, matching)
  • explaining (constructing models)
  • executing (carrying out)
  • implementing (using)
  • differentiating (discriminating, distinguishing, focusing, selecting)
  • organizing (finding, coherence, integrating, outlining, parsing, structuring)
  • attributing (deconstructing)
  • checking (coordinating, detecting, monitoring, testing)
  • critiquing (judging)
  • generating (hypothesizing)
  • planning (designing)
  • producing (construct)

Source: Revised Bloom's Taxonomy, Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, Iowa State University

Learning Objective Verbs


  • Define, recall, recognize, list
  • Remember, identify… was, is, did
  • Who, what, where, when / how many, how much
  • Acquire


  • Describe, compare, rephrase, contrast (abstract)
  • Put into your own words
  • Give an example, explain the main idea
  • What is most important, What caused this
  • What will probably happen
  • Translate, interpret, convert, transform, abstract


  • Apply, use, prepare, employ, classify, generalize, choose
  • Solve… which… how would you
  • Write an example
  • Explain, sequence, repair plan, operate


  • Analyze, compare, detect, discover, identify, distinguish, order, outline, classify, discriminate, catalog, recognize
  • Investigate, explore, determine, estimate, observe
  • Identify motives or causes… support
  • Draw conclusions
  • Determine evidence… why
  • What reasons are given
  • What method is used
  • What words suggest, breakdown ideas


  • Evaluate, judge, measure, test, appraise
  • Select, verify, rank, check, argue
  • Assess… give your opinion and reasons
  • Decide which is the better picture/solution


  • Integrate, propose, theorize, build, plan, formulate, specify, organize, systematize
  • Predict, construct, produce
  • How can we improve… write
  • What would happen if… develop
  • Design a plan, devise a model
  • How can we solve… synthesize

Modified from Faculty Orientation Handbook by George Drops 2006

Related Readings

The Autumn 2002 issue of Theory Into Practice (Volume 41, Issue 4) includes the following articles on Bloom's Taxonomy:

Author Title Pages
Krathwohl, D. R. A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy: An Overview 212-218
Pintrich, P. R. The Role of Metacognitive Knowledge in Learning, Teaching, and Assessing 219-225
Mayer, R. E. Rote Versus Meaningful Learning 226-232
Raths, J. Improving Instruction 233-237
Ferguson, C. Using the Revised Taxonomy to Plan and Deliver Team-Taught, Integrated, Thematic Units 238-243
Byrd, P. A. The Revised Taxonomy and Prospective Teachers 244-248
Airasian, P. W. & Miranda, H. The Role of Assessment in the Revised Taxonomy 249-254
Anderson, L. W. Curricular Alignment: A Re-Examination 255-260

Source: Revised Bloom's Taxonomy, Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, Iowa State University