Monday, December 3, 2012

HOTS or Bloom's Taxonomy

by Barb Evans

Teachers Pay Teachers Storefront: Barbara Evans

It's about time educators revisited Higher Order Thinking Skills or HOTS.  Most teachers have some knowledge of Benjamin Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. However, did you know Benjamin is not actually the author of the taxonomy? It bears his name because he chaired the committee that developed it. Therefore, the next time someone asks you to chair a committee, you may want to say "Yes!"

It seems as though Bloom's Taxonomy has been around forever, and, actually, it has been around since 1956, according to Overbaugh and Schultz, who wrote “Bloom’s Taxonomy”. It has, however, changed over the decades. When first proposed, the taxonomy dealt with three domains of education: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. The goal of the three domains was to produce holistic education. Over time, however, the cognitive domain has become the taxonomy we think of when Bloom's Taxonomy is mentioned.

The taxonomy is constructed as a scaffold; the lower levels must be broad and strong in order for the upper levels to be built. In an age of standardized testing mania, knowledge and comprehension, the foundation levels, are the name of the game. Since those are the most easily evaluated components, performance is naturally based on those levels. Thus, mostly teachers of gifted and talented students have time to work on upper levels of the taxonomy since their students, presumably, have the requisite knowledge and understanding.

Here are two versions of Bloom's Taxonomy:

Teachers everywhere need to break out of their shells and push their students to work in the higher levels. Our children deserve to be grade A educated.

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