Critical Thinking: Blooms Taxonomy and the PAR Technique donald tucker

Your not in high school anymore!

Blooms Taxonomy is a learning technique developed by Dr. Benjamin Bloom to help students and teachers understand the levels of thinking and learning.

The graphic shown here is used by schools and schools alike to show the transition from high school learning to college learning.

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Blooms Taxonomy says that there are six levels to learning subject matter. As you climb higher on the pyramid you start to understand all the aspects of the subject matter, not just what is important remembering on the test.

Basic Learning

The bottom two levels involve remembering and understanding the material you learn. Memorization is the lowest level on this pyramid because it involves nothing more than taking something on faith and relaying it somewhere else. No real learning goes on at these two levels because there is no application of data. Not yet.

Intermediate learning

The middle levels involve applying and analyzing your data. It is at these levels where people start to use what they have learned in different ways. Applying your data could be as simple as using a formula you remembered to calculate how many vacation hours an employee is entitled to. A way to analyze the same data would be taking the vacation hours used by lower level employees and contrasting it to the vacation hours used by managers.

Higher Learning

The highest levels of learning are evaluating and creating. It would be very easy to take the information gained from analyzing the vacation hours data and draw a conclusion. Evaluating the number of hours gathered would lead someone to make a decision on whether to share or not to share their findings. If someone thinks that productivity will drop as a result of this information being released, then it will be thrown out. This perfectly leads to the last level of the pyramid, "creating." A savvy manager will use this information and develop a new system on getting vacation time information from different companies. That same manager will then go out and create a new business that evaluates business productivity. The idea for the new business comes from the created phase just as much as the remembering phase.

The relationship

The depiction of blooms taxonomy as a pyramid is so applicable because of how it shows the evolution of learning subject matter at every step. No one ever got to the creation phase without the remembering and understanding phases. However, not everything you learn makes it to the creation stage.

The Exhibit

The best way to apply blooms taxonomy in academic life in Clemson is by using the PAR method. The Preview, Attend, Review technique is used to keep us familiar with information that we learn in class. By previewing the information before class, the student gets to be interactive with the teacher during instruction. When you attend class the information you already read about gets reinforced by the professor through lectures and exercises. After attending the class it is important to go over what you have learned within the next 24 hours. Or else you will forget!

Before application

Before I started using the PAR method, I would do my homework during class and only look over the material before quizzes and tests. This was not good. By doing my homework in class, I was skipping the preview stage and missing out on the attend stage. Also by not reviewing every day I was not prepared for my second test that I scored a 64 on.

Applying PAR

This class was very easy to use PAR on. My first step in the experiment was checking the syllabus to see what material would be covered on which days. Then, I would read the sections being covered in class the night before to prepare. In class I was much more prepared because I recognized what the teacher was doing as she was showing us for the first time. Being able to have to separate mediums to study through helped me out a ton. Lastly, after class I would go home and do the homework for that section that night.

My results

Prior to the application of PAR:

  • Test average- 76
  • Problem of the Week average- 80
  • Classwork average- 80

Since the introduction of PAR:

  • Test average- TBD
  • Problem of the week average- 95
  • Classwork average- 90


I have not received my third test score back yet, but I am certain that the PAR technique and understanding the different levels of blooms taxonomy got me my best test score yet. While taking the test I was able to call back on so much of what I learned while using the PAR technique. The repetition of learning this information day after day allowed me to easily call back on information I learned while taking the test.

The application of this technique goes much farther than just college life. Being prepared, punctual, and reliable are three traits every business looks for in employees. Going the extra mile will get you to your goals. This technique is just one of many I have started using to better my grades and improve my critical thinking skills.

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