Bloom’s Taxonomy as applied to quizbowl

Benjamin Bloom’s 1956 taxonomy of cognitive thinking has been updated for the 21st century and includes six levels of complexity. Each level applies to quizbowl in some way.

Here are some examples, in case you need to write a grant application for quizbowl funds and have to explain why quizbowl is a good thing for students.

Remember: Students use this lowest level most during a game, remembering who said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”, what novel begins “Call me Ishmael”, and which Beethoven symphony begins “da da da DUM.” After a game, they can remember when they buzzed and why.

Understand: Students hear a question and understand what information is required in their answer (person, place, location, etc.). They narrow down which answers could fit the information given (i.e., late-1800’s U.S. politician needed, so it’s not Queen Elizabeth II or Charlemagne.)

Apply: Students work together as a team on non-tossup questions to come up with answers, based on what they remember and understand about the general subject.

Analyze: Students figure out the common link among a set of clues (they’re all shades of yellow, or all William Faulkner short stories, or all former governors of Texas, etc.)

Evaluate: Students ask, “Is this question any good?”, “How could this question be improved?”, “What was good about today’s tournament?” and “What should be improved about the tournament before next year?”

Create: At this highest level, students write their own questions, using all of the lower levels to come up with high-quality questions. They may be ready to run their own tournament, whether using others’ questions or their own.