Categorising conceptual assessments under the framework of bloom’s taxonomy

Boles, Wageeh W., Goncher, Andrea, & Jayalath, Dhammika (2015) Categorising conceptual assessments under the framework of bloom’s taxonomy. In Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference (AAEE 2015), 6-9 December 2015, Geelong, Vic. (Unpublished)

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  • Concept inventories are designed to assess an individual’s knowledge of topics without the use of calculations. They also are designed incorporate various types of questions that assess single concepts, multiple concepts, the synthesis of concepts, or require reverse reasoning. One framework developed to categorize thinking skills in the cognitive domain is Bloom’s taxonomy (Bloom, 1956; Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001). Researchers and practitioners have developed assessments instruments using the cognitive domain of Bloom’s taxonomy in signals and systems (Ursani, Memon, & Chowdhry, 2014), and integrated the taxonomy with concept inventories (Rhodes & Roedel, 1999).


  • This study applies Bloom’s taxonomy to concept inventory items in the domain of signals and systems. We sought to answer two research questions, 1) Do concept inventory items assess varying levels of conceptual complexity? and 2) What do students’ explanations of these concepts reveal about their level of learning based on cognitive domain of learning in Bloom’s taxonomy?


  • We mapped concept inventory questions to the applicable levels of Bloom’s taxonomy, and categorized students’ written explanations of their answers to the questions based on the cognitive levels of the taxonomy. We then analyzed students’ explanations of these topics to identify if conceptual barriers are related to a hierarchal framework for cognition, such as Bloom’s taxonomy.


  • Understanding and appropriately applying the hierarchy of thinking skills—from lower-level to higher level— is important to building a strong and accurate conceptual understanding of a subject, such as signal processing. From students’ written explanations, we determined the level of depth for understanding of that specific concept. Lecturers often require students to do analysis, but expect students to synthesize the information.


  • Lecturers can incorporate or require an explanation to a multiple-choice question that is used to assess varying levels of conceptual understanding. From students’ explanations, lecturers can then identify possible misconceptions or impediments to students’ understanding of conceptual ideas that build on one another. The process of thinking and learning requires the application of lower-level and higher-level cognitive skills, so it is critical to build on strong foundational knowledge in order to advance to more complex knowledge. Evaluating conceptual understanding at the different cognitive levels has implications for improving how concepts are taught and developing more meaningful assessments.

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ID Code: 95630
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Concept inventory
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 The Author(s)
Deposited On: 25 May 2016 23:24
Last Modified: 26 May 2016 14:15

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