Still important for curriculum design and assessment

Call me old school. I have a bit of a sentimental attachment to Bloom’s taxonomy, some of the earliest content I encountered in my teacher-education classes back in the early, early 1970s. It made sense to me and helped inform my attempts at assessing my kids’ understanding of various concepts as well as new ways to design and present curriculum. 

Teaching was always a very creative outlet for me and I believe that this information helped me along the way. Of course, over the years, the taxonomy has undergone a few changes in a few instances. But I was happy to see that a recent search shows the list of levels of thinking and learning to be very similar to how I learned them

On significant change in some of the descriptions and charts I found showed “Synthesis” as “Creating,” usually appearing above “Evaluating.” I quite agree with this switch and have often considered the synthesis of existing bits of information into something new to be more demanding than evaluating the bits you’ve got.

Some of the words have been changed: “Knowledge” shows up as “Remembering” and “Comprehension” is called “Understanding” in several of these charts. Early representations were in pyramid form, explained to me that each type of higher-level thinking was built on the foundation of more basic levels of understanding. 

So although I was going to share what I had included in an older version of the site from about two decades ago, it seems more than reasonable to update my original post with some of the newer suggestions that make a great deal of sense. In most cases, I am including both the original labels (nouns) with the more recent labels, which have been changed to verbs in most cases. (I have also included some examples for different levels of learners, including secondary and elementary.)

As I did with the students in my teacher-ed classes, I would ask you to look over your activities, including the ones mandated by the district and in textbooks, and see what type of thinking each one requires. Same for assessments—especially with regard to whether the lower-level foundational levels have been established to support what is being assessed. A few examples or a brief explanation is offered with each.

NOTE: I have only included the taxonomy for the Cognitive Domain. I have also studied and recommend the ones developed for the Affective and Psychomotor Domains, as you will see throughout the collection of resources on this site, I believe it is essential to consider, address, and accommodate these aspects of the “whole child.”


  • Basic recall of information. 
  • Emphasis on remembering, either by recognition or recall of ideas, material, or phenomena. 
  • Related verbs in questions or activities: arrange, define, identify, indicate, label, list, match, memorize, recall, recite. *
  • Skills can Include knowledge of terminology (mastery of science terms); specific facts (knows names or events in the news); conventions (knows correct form and usage in writing); trends and sequences (can recite trends in government for last 50 years)
  • Other examples:
    • How many little pigs were there?
    • What kind of animal was after the little pigs?
    • The first little pig made his house out of ______.
    • What happened after the wolf blew down the first two houses?


  • Ability to explain or interpret information.
  • Represents an understanding of the literal message contained in a communication.
  • Related verbs in questions or activities: compare, classify, describe, discuss, explain, give examples, interpret, paraphrase, predict, present, report, rewrite, summarize. *
  • Skills can Include knowledge of translation (can read music or architectural plans); interpretation (can interpret various types of social data); extrapolation (can draw conclusions and state them clearly)
  • Other examples:
    • Write the story title in Spanish.
    • Why did the wolf blow the little pig’s house down?
    • Do you think the wolf bothered the little pigs after he fell down the chimney? Why or why not?


  • Ability to use information or apply it in a different situation.
  • Requires an understanding beyond the comprehension level that allows the student, when given a new problem, will apply the appropriate abstraction when its use is specified.
  • Related verbs in questions or activities: calculate, complete, demonstrate, execute, illustrate, implement, modify, organize, practice, prepare, solve, show, use, write. *
  • Skills can include the ability to relate principles of civil rights to current events; apply laws of trigonometry to practical situations; or predict the probable effect of a change in a factor on a biological situation previously at equilibrium.
  • Other examples: 
    • Which simple machines might have helped the wolf?
    • How could the little pig with a house of straw have made his house stronger?
    • How might this story be different if it took place in Alaska?
    • Which government programs might make the wolf’s efforts unnecessary?


  • Ability to distinguish between different parts or draw connections among ideas,
  • Emphasizes the breakdown of the material into ins constituent parts and detection of the relationships of the parts and of the way they are organized.
  • Related verbs in questions or activities: categorize, contrast, compare, criticize, debate, differentiate, experiment, inspect, infer, investigate, organize, outline, question, separate, test. *
  • Skills can include: analysis of elements (can distinguish facts from hypotheses), relationships (can detect logical fallacies in arguments), or organizational principles (can recognize the point of view or bias of a writer in an historical account).
  • Other examples:
    • How were the three houses like each other? How were they different?
    • Would you rather live in a house made of straw or one made of sticks? Why?
    • If you read this story to your little brother or sister, what point would you be trying to make?


  • Ability to justify a position or decision or judging the value of information or ideas.
  • Making judgments about the value, for some purpose, of ideas, works, solutions, methods, materials, etc. It involves the use of criteria as well as standards for appraising the extent to which particulars are accurate, effective, economical, or satisfying.
  • Related verbs in questions or activities: attribute, argue, assess, check, compare, conclude, contrast, criticize, critique, defend, examine, justify, measure, recommend, support, reflect *
  • Skills can include: judgments in terms of internal evidence (can apply given criteria to the judgment of the work); judgments in terms of external evidence (can make comparisons of major theories, generalizations, and facts about a particular culture).
  • Other examples:
    • Evaluate each house in terms of the following: cost, upkeep and maintenance, appearance, local weather resistance, fire resistance, and environmental impact.
    • Examine the story to identify evidence of prejudice and discrimination.


  • Ability to combine parts or ideas to make something new or create a new idea or point of view.
  • Putting together of elements and parts so as to form a whole, combining elements or parts in such a way as to constitute a pattern or structure not clearly there before.
  • Related verbs in questions or activities: arrange, calculate, compose, construct, design, develop, devise, formulate, generate, hypothesize, plan, prepare, produce, propose, revise, summarize, synthesize *
  • Skills can include: production of a unique communication (can creatively write a story, essay or verse); production of a plan or proposed set of operations (can propose ways to test a hypothesis); derivation of a set of abstract relationships (can formulate a theory of learning applicable to classroom teaching).
  • Other examples:
    • Design a house that isn’t made of sticks, straw, or bricks that would still protect the pigs from predators.
    • Let’s say this story will be a made-for-TV movie. Write the theme song.
  • NOTE: This level of thinking was originally placed before Evaluating. I’m happy to see it moved to the top of the stack or pyramid, as it really does make more sense here.

* The verbs in these lists were all found on an article about Bloom’s Taxonomy on the University of Waterloo website. This site also includes examples of learning activities and assessments, not only for the Cognitive domain, but great details for understanding the dimensions of the Affective and Psychomotor taxonomies as well:

© 1984, 1990, 2008, 2022, Dr. Jane Bluestein

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