Open-Ended Questioning with Bloom's

How questions change between lower- and higher-levels of thinking

bubbles of each of Benjamin Blooms thinking skills grouped into lower and higher order

Authentic assessment methods assess, among other things, students' abilities to use higher-order thinking skills to express questioningcontent knowledge. Open-ended questioning is a form of authentic assessment, and allows students to use higher-order thinking skills through a variety of content areas. By their nature, open-ended questions assess writing, conceptual understanding, and thinking skills - especially students' abilities to analyze, to evaluate, and to solve problems.

When I was in the classroom I found using questioning strategies designed for each level of Bloom's Taxonomy to be the most effective.

Lower Order Thinking Skills typically only require rote knowledge and basic comprehension to answer. In order for students to think critically about information they must master the basics of these skills. Some questions might be:

Higher Order Thinking Skills typically require students to problem solve, organize and identify patterns, define relationships and create new ideas from known information, and recognize there are various viewpoints. Some questions might be:

Asking questions at both levels, lower- and higher-order, makes learning more interesting. Lower-order questions help us find the facts and information we need to be able to address the higher-order questions. Too many lower order and school is boring. Too many higher-order, without the lower-order and school is too taxing. Look to take a balanced approach.

As teachers, we need to be aware of the level of thought of activities so we can be assured that we are providing a variety of experiences for our students and helping them develop higher levels of thinking. David Cochran

As you get better designing just-right questions, consider ways to help your students build their questioning skills too.

Editor's Note: This article first appear on the Tech4Learning blog on August 18, 2011.

Joseph Machado

by Joseph Machado

Joseph Machado has been implementing technology and project-based learning for 10 years. He currently is advancing his education in embodied learning at the California Institute of Integral Studies.

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