Always Blooming!


I was working with an adolescent education student and asked him if he was applying Bloom’s Taxonomy in his lesson planning. He responded that he was familiar with Bloom’s but not sure if he was applying it correctly to levels of learning when planning his demo lesson.

It did not take me long to realize that although educators are aware of the importance of learning objectives being aligned with Bloom’s levels of learning, we have changed the title so many times that preservice teachers could become confused with the actual reason we use Benjamin Bloom’s conceptual approach to instruction and learning.  Benjamin Bloom, when a professor at Chicago University, participated in an informal meeting of college examiners attending the American Psychological Association Convention in Boston. Bloom held the title of Associate Director of the Board of Examinations of the University of Chicago. It was at this meeting that Bloom and a group of others expressed an interest in developing a theoretical framework that they could use to facilitate communication and to promote the exchange of test materials and ideas about testing with other examiners. The group mutually came to an agreement that they could obtain this type of framework through a system of classifying educational goals and objectives. They set out to develop a classification system for thinking behaviors that were important in the learning process, so that examiners might have a more reliable system for assessing students and educational outcomes. This group of college examiners continued to meet informally at a different university each year, and eight years later the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives – The Classification of Educational Goals – Handbook 1: The Cognitive Domain was published in 1956. (

They devised a stairway with six steps, six learning levels. The six steps are rough estimates of how learning develops sequentially.  Originally the steps were as depicted the diagram below (

Six levels of learning according to Bloom et al

The levels are thought to build on one another. The six levels in the figure pertain to thinking, the so-called cognitive domain. Here they are:

Taxonomy staircase
There are six levels of knowledge according to Benjamin Bloom et al. The terms are reformulated and simplified in the figure.

However, over the years the taxonomy has been revised to reflect creativity, depth of knowledge, and much more, yet, the framework provides a structure for how we apply the common core standards as well.  Spiraling up is a way to make sure that students “know” before they are asked to “comprehend”  and then “apply” a concept.

As we approach another year of learning and instruction my goal is to provide a crosswalk from Benjamin Bloom’s hierarch of learning to the CCSS and result in learning objectives that reflect SRL! Stay tuned, the summer of blogging has just begun!

2 thoughts on “Always Blooming!

  1. Marie I can do every step on the green steps but the first step. Please help! I never got past it, so i never won.

    And no teacher figured me out, either.

    A sad story. Van


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