Ryan Prentice

Physical Education

Airdrie Academy

  • Bloom's Taxonomy

What happens when Bloom’s Taxonomy is used to construct Higher Order Thinking activities?


Bloom’s aim is to promote higher order thinking skills (H.O.TS) in education. The learning includes 3 domains: cognitive, affective and psychomotor. Blooms’ Taxonomy (1956), involves levels of cognition which are divided into six categories. The foundation level is remembering: the retrieval of knowledge from the long term memory. The next is ‘understanding’ where pupils’ interpretation and understanding of a concept is established. Application is the third category, in which the acquired knowledge is used in practice in a new situation. Analysis focuses on breaking the gathered information into sections so there is an organisational structure that can be understood. The fifth category is evaluation; to critically judge the value of ideas and materials in regards to your acceptance. The final category is creating. This entails accumulating parts to create a whole by encouraging reinventing a structure by planning, generating and producing. The categories form a pyramid of knowledge, scaffolding on prior learning, building. This means each stage must be mastered before progressing to the next.

The upward levels of Blooms’ Taxonomy are thought to promote HOTS. Brookhart (2010) suggests HOTS has three categories; transfer, critical-thinking and problem-solving. Transfer involves students acquiring knowledge and transferring this to new areas of learning, Brookhart (2010) suggests this applies to life out with school by transferring this knowledge to life situations rather than just assessments. Critical thinking involves pupils reflecting on their beliefs and engage with reasoning, questioning, being aware of diverse view points and being comparative. In the problem-solving category Brookhart implies students cannot automatically recognise the proper way to reach the desired goal, they must use one or more higher-order thinking processes, to find solutions to a complex issue.

Blooms’ model has the positive of adding these attributes to pupil learning if the teacher applies this model to their classrooms, which will provide pupils with skills that are transferable across the curriculum, out of school life and further learning after school.


The focus of the impact of Blooms’ Taxonomy in promoting H.O.T. within the classroom learning. A Blooms structured block through teaching in different forms of questioning, learning objections and task building, was used with ongoing assessment.

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