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Bloom's Taxonomy & More

Student learning outcomes state in specific behavioral terms the minimum skills students should be able to demonstrate at the conclusion of the course or program or after having received a particular service.

  • The format typically begins with the phrase "Upon completion of this course or program or service the student will be able to:" with a list of those expectations following.
  • Action verbs will follow the above statement to complete the SLO. Example: "Upon completion of this program, a student will be able to analyze the impacts of human civilization on coastal processes and structures."

Whether writing course-level, program-level, or service-level outcomes, here are some suggested guidelines:

  • Focus on student behavior
  • Ensure an outcome is reasonable for student abilities
  • Use simple, specific action verbs
  • Ensure language is clear and easily understood 
  • Ensure outcome is measurable (can be observed and tested)
  • Identify an assessment method
  • State the desired performance criteria
  • Align with the key concepts of the course and/or program or the key goals of the service

The Cognitive Domain

The Cognitive domain includes content knowledge and the development of intellectual skills. This includes the recall or recognition of specific facts and concepts that serve developing intellectual abilities and skills. There are six major categories, starting from the simplest behavior (recalling facts) to the most complex (Evaluation).

Skill levels associated with  critical thinking

The following cognitive areas are sometimes listed in the following order to indicate increasing order of higher-order thinking and sometimes listed all three together at the same level.

UC/CSU schools require a majority of the outcomes demonstrate critical thinking.

  1. Remembering: Recognizing or recalling knowledge from memory. Remembering is when memory is used to produce definitions, facts, or lists, or recite or retrieve material.
  2. Understanding:  Constructing meaning from different types of functions be they written or graphic messages activities like interpreting, exemplifying, classifying, summarizing, inferring, comparing, and explaining.     
  3. Applying:  Carrying out or using a procedure through executing, or implementing. Applying related and refers to situations where learned material is used through products like models, presentations, interviews or simulations.  
  4. Analyzing:  Breaking material or concepts into parts, determining how the parts relate or interrelate to one another or to an overall structure or purpose. Mental actions included in this function are differentiating, organizing, and attributing, as well as being able to distinguish between the components or parts. When one is analyzing he/she can illustrate this mental function by creating spreadsheets, surveys, charts, or diagrams, or graphic representations.
  5. Evaluating:  Making judgments based on criteria and standards through checking and critiquing. Critiques, recommendations, and reports are some of the products that can be created to demonstrate the processes of evaluation.  In the newer taxonomy evaluation comes before creating as it is often a necessary part of the precursory behavior before creating something.  
  6. Creating: Putting elements together to form a coherent or functional whole; reorganizing elements into a new pattern or structure through generating, planning, or producing. Creating requires users to put parts together in a new way or synthesize parts into something new and different a new form or product.  This process is the most difficult mental function in the new taxonomy.


Verbs Associated with the Cognitive Domain


Bloom's Taxonomy Revision (Iowa State University)
Revised Bloom's Taxonomy


For a more complete set of Bloom’s verbs:


The Affective Domain

The affective domain describes learning objectives that emphasize a feeling tone, an emotion, or a degree of acceptance or rejection. Affective objectives vary from simple attention to selected phenomena to complex but internally consistent qualities of character and conscience.

Affective Verbs are not part of Bloom’s Taxonomy. These verbs are often used for noncredit courses and community service offerings, though noncredit courses and community service offerings may also use verbs from Bloom’s Taxonomy (above cognitive outcomes) as desired.

CHARACTERIZATION – Ability to act consistently in accordance with values the student has internalized.


ORGANIZING – Ability to conceptualize values in abstract or symbolic terms. Ability to organize a value system.

codify, discriminate, display, favor, judge, order, organize, relate, systematize, weigh

VALUING – Ability to accept a value as a belief, to indicate a preference for a value, to make a commitment.

balance, believe, defend, devote, examine, prefer, pursue, seek, value

RESPONDING – Ability to react to a suggestion, ability to respond and achieve satisfaction in response.

behave, complete, comply, cooperate, enjoy, examine, obey, observe, respond, tolerate

RECEIVING – Ability to focus on subject matter concepts

accept, attend, develop, realize, receive, recognize  


The Psychomotor Domain

Psychomotor objectives are those specific to discrete physical functions, reflex actions and interpretive movements. Traditionally, these types of objectives are concerned with the physically encoding of information, with movement and/or with activities where the gross and fine muscles are used for expressing or interpreting information or concepts. This area also refers to natural, autonomic responses or reflexes.

Psychomotor Verbs are not part of Bloom’s Taxonomy. These verbs are often used with noncredit courses and community service offerings, though noncredit courses and community service offerings may also use verbs from Bloom’s Taxonomy (above cognitive outcomes) as desired.

Origination – Ability to create new physical objects.

construct, create, design, produce

Adaptation – Ability to modify physical objects

adapt, build, change, develop, supply

Complex Overt Response – Ability to perform a physical activity with a high degree of skill.

calibrate, coordinate, maintain, operate

Mechanism – Ability to operate of physical objects.

adjust, build, illustrate, indicate, manipulate, mix, set up

Guided Response – Ability to react to changes in physical

objects, copy, demonstrate, determine, discover, duplicate, imitate, inject, repeat

Set – Ability to change physical objects

adjust, locate, physically place, position, prepare

Perception – Ability to react appropriately to the outside world.

distinguish, hear, recognize, relate, see, sense, smell, taste, touch