Preparing for Standardized Tests: How to Use Bloom's Taxonomy to Write Your Own Questions

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Why Write Your Own Assessments

Preparing for standardized tests is an important part of any class. As a teacher, you can facilitate this process by creating your own assessment. You can easily use Bloom’s Taxonomy for questions to create your assessments. This will ensure you are writing your own assessments with higher level thinking questions. This may take more time than using a textbook version, but you will have more control over the practice your students receive. You can also use study guides or worksheets with higher level thinking skills. Your students can also use the worksheets and assessments as tools to prepare for standardized tests and practice higher level thinking skills that they will need to succeed in life.

A Question of Type

If you are a history teacher, you may write your own assessment about the United States Civil War. On the test, you could have these different types of questions. (Much of this information may look familiar if you have studied Bloom’s Taxonomy of questions):

  • Knowledge questions: These types of questions generally ask for a fact as an answer. A question such as, “Where was the first battle of the United States Civil War?”
  • Comprehension questions: This is a question where you see if students understand the material. Example: “What were two causes of the United States Civil War? Explain how they caused the war to start.” There may be more than one correct answer as there were more than two causes, and the students have to explain why these causes started the war.
  • Higher Level Thinking Questions: The two types of questions above are important and will take up a great majority of your test. But you want to have questions that allow your students to apply their knowledge, make inferences, and draw conclusions. A couple of examples of these type of questions would be:
  • (Application of knowledge)–“Based on your knowledge of the reasons why the Confederate Army lost the war, what are three things the South might have done differently to cause a different outcome?
  • (Making Inferences)–“Based on what you learned about Abraham Lincoln’s political beliefs, why did he sign the Emancipation Proclamation?”
  • (Drawing Conclusions)–“What conclusions can you draw about why the Union army was victorious?”

To prepare students for a test, it is always helpful to supply them with samples on worksheets with higher level thinking skills.

After the Assessment

Once you have graded the tests based on Bloom’s taxonomy of questions, you should use these results as a learning experience for your students. Take some class time to review correct answers. Model for students how to answer higher level thinking questions. Discuss reasons why students may have lost points on essay questions or point out some of your students’ exceptional answers. Going over an assessment is as important as including higher level thinking questions on it or practicing more questions on worksheets with higher level thinking skills.