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Critical Evaluation of Bloom's Taxonomy

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Psychology
Wordcount: 1568 words Published: 18th May 2020

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In Bloom’s taxonomy, six levels of critical complexity are arranged from most to least complex: “knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation” (Granello, 2001, p. 234).  Each level builds on the last.  Knowledge involves recognizing information, whereas comprehension means understanding the information.  Applying the information involves using the information in a new way through new application.  In analysis, the leaner breaks down material into its parts and recognizes there is some sort of organizational structure between the parts.  When the learner puts the pieces together in a new way, they synthesize the information.  Finally, judging the information refers to evaluating the material. 

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Facione (2018) describes six core critical thinking skills as cognitive skills.  Interpretation is to expresses the meaning and significance of data, such as an experience, belief, procedure, etc.  In analysis, a person studies the relationship(s) between modes of expression, such as statements, questions, and descriptions, that convey opinions, ideas, beliefs, and other forms of representation.  When a leaner assesses the credibility of their own or other(s) perception, beliefs, statements, judgement, and experience, they evaluate a set of information.  This can also involve judging the logic between various forms of representation.  When we infer, we identify elements and make reasonable conclusions among them, such as evidence, beliefs, opinions, questions, concepts, etc.  Explanation refers to presenting our own thoughts and reasoning in a coherent manner in a way that helps others understand the whole context of a situation.  Finally, self-regulation involves monitoring our own thinking patterns through analysis and judgement.  In other words, we attempt to keep ourselves in check through monitoring our thoughts.

Finally, Paul and Elder give eight structures that together can be called elements of thought (Analytic stage of thinking, 2019).  These are concepts, point of view, information, interpretation and inference, question at issue, assumptions, implications and consequences, and purpose.  All reasoning is explained through concepts, such as theories, models, laws, etc.  Point of view refers to the perspective in which we reason.  Data, facts, experiences, and observations comprise information.  Drawing insight, conclusions, and solutions refers to interpretation.  A problem or issue is the question at large in which we reason to solve the question.  When we take reasoning for granted, we draw assumptions.  When there are reactions to our reasoning, there are implications and consequences.  Finally, purpose refers to a goal or an objective.


Facione’s cognitive skills and the elements of thought both refer to cognitive thinking.  Facione, however, deals with cognitive skills, while the elements of thought are merely structures that comprise thought.  Bloom’s Taxonomy refers to the complexity of thought, not parts of thought.  Bloom’s Taxonomy seems the most straightforward, while the other two models can be more abstract in thinking.  It is arguably easier to understand layers of cognitive complexity in everyday life rather than trying to identify parts of thinking or cognitive skills.  Despite their differences, each model is one of cognitive analysis and analysis some part of cognitive thinking.


Some strengths underlying Bloom’s taxonomy are that it organizes thought patterns according to least and most complex and that the learner can readily identify with the various layers of thought patterns due to previous experiences in learning.  As we grow more advanced in our education, we are expected to develop more advanced thinking patterns.  A weakness is the taxonomy does not identify any elements of thinking.

Facione’s six core critical thinking skills are generally all skills we have used in previous experiences.  Therefore, the learner can readily identify with the skills labeled in Facione’s framework, such as interpretation and explanation.  However, some of the skills can be difficult to explain due to overuse of words we might ordinarily use as blanket terms that apply to multiple critical thinking skills, such as data and modes of expression.  It can also be difficult to explain each thinking skill due to its more abstract nature.

Paul and Elder’s elements of thought involve terms that are readily identifiable, such as point of view and consequence.  It could be surprising to find these terms identified in an article about thought.  Arguably, we have encountered these structures before in previous work.  We haven’t labeled the structure as an element of thought.  Given that these structures are all thought elements, we are inadvertently incorporating the structures when we are analyzing the other two models.  Again, however, these are more abstract structures, so it may be difficult to understand or explain the elements of thought in a practical manner.


Synthesizing in Bloom’s Taxonomy refers to putting the pieces of thought together in a new way.  Within Granello’s (2001) article on bloom’s taxonomy and literature reviews, synthesize refers to organizing, integrating, and evaluating previously published information into literature reviews which address the problem, identify relationships, gaps, and inconsistencies in the literature, and suggest new steps to solve the problem (Bem, 1995; APA, 1994).  Students integrates and combines ideas from into a product, plan, or proposal.  They gather information from academic research into broader themes.

Using Models in My Specialization

As a practitioner-scholar, each model is used while working in my specialization.  While conducting my own professional practices, each level of critical thought is in place.  As a professional, I identify a problem, evaluate the literature, and synthesize my own conclusions to create compelling research.   Each critical thinking skill is in use within writing research articles to analyze and express current practices and academic research.  Finally, elements of thought are always in use as we explain our reasoning, draw conclusions through interpretation, make assumptions, etc.

Using Models in My Research Project

One of the articles I picked for review in my research project is Moyer’s (1995) “An opposing view on prescription privileges for psychologists.”  I picked this article because Moyer expresses opposing viewpoints to prescriptive privileges for psychologists, and much of the literature on the subject supports this possibility. 

One of Moyer’s arguments against prescriptive privilege is that it could move psychologists more toward a medical model as opposed to using psychological techniques.  I would use Bloom’s Taxonomy to analyze her statement and recognize the role psychologists typically play as opposed to the role psychiatrists play.  From there, I would judge and evaluate her statement based on other literature who speak on the subject.  I would use Facione’s critical thinking skills to assess the credibility of Moyer’s statement in that the psychological field would move more towards a model one given prescriptive privilege.  I would also use Paul and Elder’s elements of thought to analyze Moyer’s point of view and judge Moyer’s purpose or objective in claiming there would be a shift in the psychological field.  Because of my conclusions, I might further research Moyer’s claim to find if anyone else confirms her statement.


  • Analytic stage of thinking. (2019). Capella University. Retrieved from https://campus.capella.edu/critical-thinking/qualities-of-thinking/analytic-stage
  • American Psychological Association. (1994). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
  • Bem, D. J. (1995). Writing a review article for Psychological Bulletin. Psychological Bulletin, 118(2). 172-177.
  • Facione, P. A. (2018). Critical thinking: What it is and why it counts. Insight Assessment.
  • Granello, D. H. (2001). Innovative methods: Promoting cognitive complexity in graduate written work: Using Bloom’s taxonomy as a pedagogical tool to improve literature reviews. Counselor Education & Supervision, 40(4). 292-307.
  • Moyer, D. M. (1995). An opposing view on prescription privileges for psychologists. Professional Psychology, Research and Practice, 26(6). 586-590.


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