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Selecting a Study Guide with Bloom's Taxonomy

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By Beverly S. Krueger

Study guides are useful for the busy homeschool mom or dad who does not want to create their own study. One common feature of most study guides is discussion questions. Selecting a study guide is a process that involves evaluating many different aspects of the study guide. You may choose a particular guide because you like the activities included. One step in the evaluation process should be a look at the study questions.

Study questions can be used for many different purposes. If you're working on listening skills with your children, you may want to have study questions that focus on the facts of the story or text. Benjamin Bloom created a taxonomy to categorize questions and the level of critical thinking they require. Using Bloom's Taxonomy to determine the types of questions in a particular guide will allow you to plan that portion of your study to meet specific goals.

In the listening skills example, you would be looking for study guides that focus on Knowledge. Knowledge is the first level of critical thinking in Bloom's Taxonomy. It involves questions that call for observation and recall of information. This can include names, dates, places, events and major ideas. You can use question cues to help decide which of Bloom's levels of taxonomy a question fits. Question cues for questions in the Knowledge level include list, define, tell, describe, identify, show, label, collect, examine, tabulate, quote, name, who, when, and where. Tasks that help learning at this level include classifying, distinguishing opinion from fact, writing definitions, giving examples, and creating outlines or summaries.

There are six levels to Bloom's Taxonomy: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation. Over the course of your homeschooling you should use materials that help your child develop in each area of critical thinking. The levels move from the concrete to the abstract, so don't plan on working on the higher levels of the taxonomy with primary age children. They aren't ready for abstract thinking. You'll probably want to reject a study guide for high school age that doesn't move beyond the Knowledge or Comprehension levels.

Bloom's Taxonomy is a useful tool to take with you to your local curriculum fair. In addition to including below on this page, we've made available a printer friendly version. (Adobe PDF requires Acrobat Reader.)

More Resources:

Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing, A: A Revision of Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives
by Lorin W. Anderson (Editor), David R. Krathwohl (Editor), Benjamin s Bloom
Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Handbook 1 : Cognitive Domain
by David Krathwohl, Benjamin S. Bloom (Editor)

Copyright 2002 Eclectic Homeschool Association

Information in this article has been adapted from: Bloom, B.S. et al., eds. Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals: Handbook I, Cognitive Domain (New York; Toronto: Longmans, Green, 1956).

Bloom's Taxonomy


Observation and recall of information.

Question cues:
list, define, tell, describe, identify, show, label, collect, examine, tabulate, quote, name, who, when, and where.

classify, distinguish opinion from fact, write definitions, give examples, and create outlines or summaries.


Understanding information, grasping its meaning.

Question cues:
summarize, describe, interpret, contrast, predict, associate, distinguish, estimate, differentiate, discuss, extend, convert, defend, explain.

interpret material by explaining or summarizing it, predict outcomes or effects, rewriting, make comparisons, order the steps in a process, determine causes.


Using learned material in a new context or applying the rules, methods, or theories learned.

Question cues:
apply, demonstrate, calculate, complete, illustrate, show, solve, examine, modify, relate, change, classify, experiment, discover, compute, operate, use.

estimate based on past experience, work with probabilities, make inferences, apply formulas or methods.


Seeing patterns, recognizing hidden meanings and identifying and organizing parts of a whole.

Question cues:
analyze, separate, order, explain, connect, classify, arrange, divide, compare, select, explain, infer, distinguish, diagram, outline, relate, discriminate.

determine completeness, recognize relevance and irrelevance, identify elements in a story, determine proper sentence sequence, recognize fallacies.


Generalizing from known facts, putting together ideas or knowledge from several areas to create new ideas, drawing conclusions, seeing abstract relationships

Question cues:
combine, integrate, modify, rearrange, substitute, plan, create, design, invent, what if?, compose, formulate, prepare, generalize, rewrite, compile.

communicate ideas, plan a project, writing hypotheses for science experiments, draw conclusions.


Comparing and discriminating between ideas, assessing the value of theories, ideas, presentations, or plans; verifying the value of evidence, determining the objectivity or subjectivity of information and value of evidence, using reasoned arguments to make choices.

Questions cues:
assess, decide, rank, grade, test, measure, recommend, convince, select, judge, explain, discriminate, support, conclude, compare, summarize, appraise, criticize, contrast.

judge the accuracy of historical evidence, identify the mood of a story, write a persuasive essay, evaluate a story or situation from a Biblical perspective, make judgements about political or moral ideas, develop criteria for evaluating something.

Copyright ©  2002 Eclectic Homeschool Association

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