Vito Prosciutto: Teaching community college math on the road to a PhD.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Syllabus Work: Overarching Questions: Bloom's Taxonomy 

One of the questions haunting me this semester as I taught my math for liberal arts majors class has been the fact that the homework (and consequently the tests) have not really called for much beyond some fairly basic recall and application. Putting this in terms of Bloom's Taxonomy of Knowledge, I don't think that I've gotten much above level three.

A quick review:

  1. Knowledge
    Basic recall of subject matter.
  2. Comprehension
    Distinguish between different sorts of things, group things, translate knowledge into new context.
  3. Application
    Use information, methods, etc. in new situations to solve problems
  4. Analysis
    Seeing patterns, identification of components
  5. Synthesis
    Use old ideas to generate new ones, generalize from given facts, relate knowledge from several different areas.
  6. Evaluation
    Make choices based on reasoned argument, verify value of evidence, compare and discriminate among ideas.

As I plan the semester, I want to make sure that I really ask the students to do more than memorize problem-solving recipes. In fact, I'm thinking that on some tests, I would like to ask them questions that they have never encountered before. My fear is that in the past when I've attempted this, it's resulted in nearly every student not even making the attempt.

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