Unit 2 - Assessment Questions and Bloom's Taxonomy

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Bloom's Taxonomy

To understand the different levels of assessment questions, we first need to look at Bloom's Taxonomy. Bloom's original taxonomy pyramid was updated in the 1990's, and now looks like this: Fx Bloom New.jpg

This illustrates the skill levels of the cognitive domain, with the lower levels at the bottom, and the higher levels at the top. Notice the position of remembering on this pyramid: at the bottom. This is the lowest cognitive level, and we should strive to go beyond this in our assessment questions. Using higher-level skills engages students in meaningful learning, and will promote transfer and problem solving (Ormrod 2003). Follow this link to see the action verbs associated with each level. Compare the higher-level actions described in the upper level of the taxonomy with the lower-level actions.

Types of Assessment Questions

Knowingcheck.jpgThere are two general assessment question types used in online courses: computer graded and teacher graded. Computer graded questions generally fall in the category of selected response, in which students choose answer choices (usually just one) out of 2 or more provided. These can include true/false, multiple choice, matching, and fill in the blank. These are reliable, consistent ways to assess learning, but are not considered to be authentic or performance-oriented; rather, they are usually used to test lower level cognitive skills such as recall (Rovai, 2000). Here is an example of computer graded assessment questions:

Teacher graded questions can include short answer, essay, and other types of projects. Because of time constraints, course structure, and other considerations, an online course will generally have a mix of these two methods. There are ways to make the selected response questions more effective, though. We will look further at this concept in the next unit; specifically, making multiple choice questions more effective, since they are so widely used.


Example of Computer Graded Questions

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Cognitive Levels of Assessment Questions

Knowingclick.jpg Open this link in a new tab and look again at Bloom's Taxonomy. In which levels do the assessment questions in your courses fall? Which actions are you asking students to do? A course will generally have a mix of these, testing from lower to higher level skills, but it is much easier to create the questions for lower level skills such as remembering. Even with extensive development time, it is difficult to construct selected response questions that assess skills such as creating and evaluating (Fellenz, 2004). When creating assessments, keep in mind these cognitive levels and remember to test a variety of them throughout the course.


Continue to Unit 3 - Multiple Choice Questions in Online Courses

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