Bloom Taxonomies & SOLO Taxonomies in Education

Bloom’s Taxonomy – history

  • In 1956 Benjamin Bloom headed a group of educational psychologists who developed a classification of levels of intellectual behavior important in learning;
  • The research showed that 95 % of the test questions required students to think only at the lowest level, i.e. to recall information



The six levels

  1. Knowledge

  2. Comprehension

  3. Application

  4. lAnalysis

  5. Synthesis

  6. Evaluation


    Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy

    • In 1999, Dr. Lorin Anderson, a former student of Bloom’s, and his colleagues published an updated version of Bloom’s taxonomy that takes into account a broader range of factors that have an impact on teaching and learning.
    • The revised taxonomy differentiates between “knowing what”, the content of thinking and “knowing how”, the procedures used in solving problems.










Change in Terms

  • The names of six major categories were changed from noun to verb
  • As the taxonomy reflects different forms of thinking and thinking is an active process verbs were more accurate.
  • The subcategories of the six major categories were also replaced by verbs.

Some subcategories were reorganised

  • The knowledge category was renamed. Knowledge is a product of thinking and was inappropriate to describe a category of thinking and was replaced with the word remembering
  • Comprehension became understanding and synthesis was renamed creating in order to better reflect the nature of the thinking described by each category.

Change in Emphasis

  • More authentic tool for curriculum planning, instructional delivery and assessment.
  • Aimed at a broader audience.
  • Easily applied to all levels of schooling.
  • The revision emphasises explanation and description of subcategories.

New Terms Explained


Retrieving, recognizing, and recalling relevant knowledge from long-term memory.


Constructing meaning from oral, written, and graphic messages through interpreting, exemplifying, classifying, summarizing, inferring, comparing, and explaining.


Carrying out or using a procedure through executing, or implementing


Breaking material into constituent parts, determining how the parts relate to each other and to an overall structure or purpose through differentiating, organizing, and attributing.


Making judgments based on criteria and standards through checking and critiquing.


Putting elements together to form a coherent or functional whole; reorganizing elements into a new pattern or structure through generating, planning or producing


Test construction requires knowledge
of the syllabus/course outline on
which an examination syllabus is based.
There should be congruency or agreement between the learning outcome or objective
and the testing technique used to assess a learning outcome. The taxonomy used should be determined by the nature of learning outcome. Not all learning outcomes can be assessed by pencil and paper and within a short time. Most learning outcomes in the affective and psychomotor can be observed by observations and recording over a long time. Performance tasks are also assessed by observation.

A mismatch between learning outcomes and assessment procedures leads to what is called curriculum distortion. This distortion could lead to lower learning achievement due to wrong enforcement from the assessment process


SOLO Taxonomy

What is Solo?

SOLO, stands for Structure of the
Observed Learning Outcome. It was
Developed by Biggs and Collis (1982)

Biggs describes SOLO as “a framework for understanding.” (1999, p.37)
SOLO describes the level of increasing complexity in a student’s understanding of a subject, through five stages, and it is claimed to be applicable to any subject area.

The language of learning

Solo Level


Unistructural define, identify, name. draw, find, label, match, follow a simple procedure
Multistuctural describe, list, outline, complete, continue, combine
Relational sequence, classify, compare & contrast, explain (cause & effect), analyse, form an analogy, organise, distinguish, question, relate, apply
Extended abstract generalise, predict, evaluate, reflect, hypothesise, theorise, create, prove, justify, argue, compose, prioritise, design, construct, perform

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