Guiding Students in Writing Data Response Answers Using Bloom’s Taxonomy for Critical Thinking, pp. 2 of 8

The focus of the study was on improving students’ competency in handling data response questions that have two or more variables. Our students were generally adept in dealing with questions with two variables that only required them to describe data. Their answers had a clear structure and were well developed. However, we noticed that when students were asked to describe and/or compare the variables given in a data set that had two or more variables, they were unable to meet the requirements of the question. Through this research, we wanted to provide a structured thinking process for our students to use when approaching these types of questions. The main research question for our research question was: To what extent does questioning based on Bloom’s Taxonomy improve students’ ability to describe and compare data with two or more variables?” 

Review of Literature

While there have been various definitions of Critical Thinking, Bloom’s Taxonomy provides a straightforward way in which critical thinking skills can be approached (Duren, et al., 2006). Bloom’s Taxonomy has 6 stages which progressively require a higher level of critical thinking (Figure 1).

According to Facione et al. (2000), critical thinking skills can be assessed through various tools such as rating forms and rubrics, and also seen via the outcomes of the activity or task given out to the students. The authors provided an example for how critical thinking skills can be analysed when students work on a given data set. The conclusions drawn by students can be evaluated, the evaluation of the conclusion can be explained or the conclusion can be re-formulated. All these are several ways to encourage critical thinking skills. Facione et al. (ibid) further argued for the purposeful inclusion of critical thinking skills in instructions and assignments to provide motivation to use the skills.

Ahrash and Lemon (2006) created a method of assessing critical thinking in their biology classroom. They were driven to carry out the research as they acknowledged the problems that existed with ‘discipline-independent’ critical thinking assessment tools. Hence, they created a tool that would measure both the content and the cognitive skills they would like their students to achieve. Their research method had them firstly craft out the questions that would require both biological knowledge and critical thinking skills. Hence, Ahrash and Lemon would be able to evaluate the content knowledge they wanted students to know and the critical thinking skills required. Secondly, they came up with a rubric that clearly stated the level of knowledge and critical thinking skills. Some of the benefits they observed were the transferability of the rubric to outside curriculum hours, and gains in students’ metacognition.

Related Teaching Materials

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An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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