Progression in Art & Design using revised Blooms

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BLOOM’s REVISED TAXONOMY for Art & Design

Bloom’s Taxonomy is probably the most used taxonomy of learning in the world. It’s success is phenomenal and primarily due to it’s simplicity, relevancy and progressive, logical approach. However, Bloom himself said that his research was the most used yet least read research ever. He admitted it wasn’t complete and in truth, the almost fanatical zeal with which teachers use it belies the fact that they only usually use one area of its whole approach. Teachers who still use only the six strands of the single cognitive domain will find only limited success with it because it is lacking in key other learning domains.

Revised Blooms

Bloom’s model was revised in 2001 by a group of educational experts spearheaded by David Krathwohl (who worked on the original version) and Lorin Anderson. The revised version is simpler than Bloom’s three domains of learning and the cognitive domain is modified:

  1. Knowledge becomes REMEMBERING (recognise, remember, recall)
  2. Comprehension becomes UNDERSTANDING (illustrate, explain, trans- late, compare)
  3. Application becomes the verb APPLY (Carry out, execute, use, implement)
  4. Analysis becomes the verb ANALYSE (select, organise, deconstruct, discover, focus)
  5. Synthesis becomes EVALUATING (check, decide, test, monitor, make choices, modelling, appraising, critiquing)
  6. Evaluation becomes CREATING (design, make, construct, generate, produce)

This cognitive stage (which is where most schools stop using Bloom’s) is, in the new model, under-pinned by four different types of knowledge; factual, conceptual, procedural, metacognitive. The four stages increase in complexity from concrete factual knowledge to abstract metacognitive knowledge.

Four types of Knowledge

  • Factual Knowledge – what you need to know to do the task, terminology, details, facts.
  • Conceptual Knowledge – knowing how things work, so you can re- assemble them into different orders, principles, theories, behaviours.
  • Procedural Knowledge – the skills and techniques of doing things.
  • Metacognitive Knowledge – being aware of one’s learning abilities, past experiences and general cognition, understanding, strategy.

The four types of knowledge underpin all learning and if correctly applied there will be twenty-four separate and distinct learning objectives, six for each of the knowledge strands. I’ve created a table from these twenty-four learning areas so that you can readily interpret them and use them in your teaching. The learning objectives increase in complexity and demand from the concrete thinking skill of ‘Factual Remembering’ (in the top left corner) to the abstract thinking skill of ‘Metacognitive Creating’ (in the bottom right).

Revised Blooms Table for Art & Design by Paul Carney
Revised Blooms Table for Art & Design by Paul Carney

Download it here: Revised Bloom table Art & Design

The table has learning objectives that develop in complexity, cover the full range of art learning skills and which you can modify and adapt to schemes of work over the course of a few years. I think it could be simplified and used in Key Stage 1 where it will guide teachers to deliver important skills in practical subjects. It could certainly be integrated into Primary art, technology and with some revision, science too. And remember, I’ve adapted this to suit art (from a science model) so it could easily be adapted back again for other subjects.

Using this model I can easily see if a pupil has strengths or weaknesses in any of the four knowledge domains and much they have progress they make in the six learning strands. What’s important to bear in mind for the teacher is that just because the six learning strands increase in complexity it doesn’t mean that they are placed in sequential order. For example, you might teach procedural analysis before procedural application, i.e. you might try out techniques before you apply them. Besides, some creative tasks are so complex that they require the application of multiple facets of the learning model. What is interesting is that the model says that trying out different techniques is harder than applying them. I think this is correct because experimentation is very challenging.

Primary Elementary Art Progression using the table

I’ll show you an example of how these learning areas relate to aspects of the NSEAD progression model and how they relate to GCSE so you can be certain that by using it you are covering the requirements of the curriculum. In the table below you can see that the NSEAD’s Year 2 Making skills target is: ‘deliberately choose to use particular techniques for a given purpose.’ This target is exactly the same as metacognitive application in the revised Bloom’s model I’ve developed. Also: ‘develop and exercise some care and control over the range of materials they use’ is procedural understanding in the Bloom’s model.

Relating Primary NSEAD targets to my revised Blooms model
Relating Primary NSEAD targets to my revised Blooms model

Secondary Middle, High Progression using the table

You can track the whole NSEAD progression model and the curriculum (what there is of it) to this model. But it goes one step further, because for those of you teaching GCSE art, the model also ensures you are teaching your students the essential components for exam success, because Assessment Objective 1 demands the ability to develop conceptual work using factual creativity, assessment objective 2 is looking for your pupil’s ability to conceptually create using procedural analysis and assessment objective 3 is really just metacognitive evaluation for procedural application.

Relating GCSE targets to my revised Blooms model
Relating GCSE targets to my revised Blooms model

So with the Bloom’s revised model you are covering the essential components of art education from the very beginning years to the final years, with one simple and focussing set of learning objectives.

What’s more you can group objectives together into projects as you move along the diagonal to unsure continuity and progression. In this way, you will be able to pick out selected targets that you feel you need to focus on and group them together. Here, I’ve grouped targets along diagonals because this is where linear progression exists, but there’s no reason why you can’t select targets at levels of varying difficulty according to your student’s ability.

grouping targets

I think what I’ve produced here is concise, relevant and logical. I hope I’ve interpreted the work of the Revised Blooms model into one that you can adapt and adopt to suit your own school. It shouldn’t matter which key stage or age group you work in, the skills are the same, the table can still be applied.

Paul Nov 2015

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