Multiple Choice Question Writing: Bloom's Taxonomy

by on May 11, 2011

in EMS Education Tips


In the 1950s Benjamin Bloom led a group of psychologists to develop Bloom’s Taxonomy, a classification of the levels of learning. The taxonomy is a pyramid; the basic and bottom level of learning is knowledge. Building up, learners are expected at the next levels to apply, analyze, synthesize and finally evaluate the information they have gained. 

For example, examine the following questions. The first is a simple recall question, and the second asks the user to apply what they have learned.

Which of the following age groups includes the most frequent victims of ingested poisonings involving household products?

a. Children

b. Teenagers

c. Adults

d. Elderly

You respond to a wheat farm where your patient, 48 year old Darrell has a large chemical burn covering his right hand and right lower arm. Darrell reports that he was mixing a liquid solution of pesticide, when it splashed onto his ungloved hand and arm. What is the transmission route for this type of poisoning is:

a. Surface absorbed

b. Ingested

c. Inhaled

d. Injected

When writing multiple choice quiz questions, it is vital to remember the taxonomy to ensure to ask learners to not only recall information but also to understand, apply, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate what they have learned.


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  • http://twitter.com/chew143 Bruce Chew

    I am so excited to see EMS Educators talking about Bloom’s Taxonomy!

    I always liked to follow up a lesson by assigning a “Blooming Worksheet”, the worksheet was constructed developing questions from each level of Bloom’s Taxonomy:

    1. Knowledge
    What color is the apple? What shape is the orange? Which one is bigger?

    2. Comprehension:
    Which piece of fruit makes your fingers feel sticky? Which piece of fruit is packed with vitamin C?

    3. Analysis:
    What are three differences/similarities between the apple and the orange?

    4. Application:
    Can you think of a way to peel an orange without getting your fingers sticky?
    What would you do if you were starving and found a worm in your apple?

    5. Synthesis:
    If you were going to create a new piece of fruit that was a combination of the apple and the orange, what would the fruit look and taste like?

    6. Evaluation:
    Which fruit is better for you and why?I normally choose to use short answer/essay questions instead of multiple choice but the idea would be the same.

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