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Assessing Gifted Students Using Bloom's Taxonomy

written by: jennyflores • edited by: Sarah Malburg • updated: 9/6/2012

Because gifted students learn differently, they should be tested differently. Using Bloom's Taxonomy as a model for assessing exceptional students ensures the student is being challenged and not just regurgitating answers for an exam.

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    Teaching to All the Tiers

    Bloom's Taxonomy includes:

    • Knowledge - the recall of specific information
    • Comprehension - an understanding of the information
    • Application - the converting of abstract content to concrete situations
    • Analysis - the comparison and contrast of the information to personal experiences
    • Synthesis - the organization of thoughts, ideas, and information from the content
    • Evaluation - the judgment and evaluation of the information for personal reflection and understanding

    Although Bloom's Taxonomy is a six-tiered model, traditional classrooms seem to focus on the first three tiers, especially when it comes to assessments. These levels test basic understanding and appear to make creating and grading exams easier. The purpose of Bloom's theory is to develop higher levels of thought processes to classroom learning. In order to adequately challenge and assess students, especially very bright learners, the focus should be on the last three tiers: analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

    Analysis requires the student to compare and contrast, solve, investigate, examine, classify, and inspect. Gifted students could be asked to plan a survey related to what has been taught, examine and draw a conclusion from the survey, and submit a report on their findings. A fun assessment project is to solve a mock crime scene. In this activity students must use all of the analysis requirements.

    Synthesis asks the student to create, develop, design, compose, or invent something that shows a deeper understanding of the material. Your exceptional students have several options. They could write an original story or create a game based on the information covered. They could design an experiment using the scientific method. You could have them invent something related to what was learned. They could also submit an original work of art.

    Under evaluation students must assess, grade, critique, and judge. This is a good opportunity for students to submit a self-assessment. Gifted students are often hard on themselves, so this allows the instructor to give constructive feedback while addressing the issue of perfectionism with these students.

    Not only does this type of assessment more accurately test for deeper understanding, it also allows for the multiple intelligences to be used. By providing several different options, students are better able to excel, showing their understanding of the material in a way that highlights their natural abilities.

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