Tag Archives: 21st Century Schools

Higher-Order Thinking (Analysis; Synthesis; and Evaluation)

Fundamental learning experiences (i.e. Competency-based Paradigms) culminate when students are capable of applying knowledge and skills.  However, higher-order cognitive processes are indicative of three progressively more complex “hierarchical” classes of behavior (i.e. reasoning outcomes).  As presented in the “original” (1956) Taxonomy published by Bloom et.al.; these outcomes are described as follows.

Analysis emphasizes the breakdown of … [the integral] into its constituent parts and detection of the relationships of the parts and of the way they are organized.  It may also be directed at the techniques and devices used to convey the meaning or to establish the conclusion of a communication….  [Analysis entails] … the ability to distinguish fact from hypothesis …, to identify conclusions and supportive statements, to distinguish relevant from extraneous material, to note how one idea relates to another, to … [recognize] unstated assumptions …, to distinguish dominant from subordinate ideas or themes …, to find evidence of the author’s techniques and purposes, etc. (p. 144)  Analysis … may be divided into three types or levels….  [i.e. Elements, Relationships, and Organizational Principles].

Synthesis is … defined as the putting together of elements and parts so as to form a whole [i.e. to constitute a pattern or structure]….  Generally this would involve a recombination of parts of previous experience with new material, reconstructed into a new … integrated whole.  [The] category … provides for creative behavior [i.e. produce and organize original ideas] on the part of the learner.  However, … the student is expected to work within the limits set by particular problems, materials, or some theoretical and methodological framework.  [Although] comprehension, application, and analysis also involve the putting together of elements and the construction of meanings, … these [constituent levels] tend to be more partial and less complete than synthesis in the magnitude of the task. (p. 162)  Three relatively distinct types of products are identified as sub-categories within this class of behavior [i.e. the production of a unique communication, the production of a  planned/proposed set of operations, and the derivation of abstract relations].

Evaluation is defined as the making of [quantitative and qualitative] judgments about the values … of ideas, works [e.g. artifacts, performances, etc.], solutions, methods, material, etc.  It involves the use of criteria [including values] as well as standards for appraising the extent to which particulars are accurate, effective, economical, or satisfying….  Evaluation is placed at this point in the taxonomy because it … involves some combination of all the other behaviors of Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, and Synthesis…. [The process] … is not necessarily the last step in thinking or problem-solving.  It … will in some cases be the prelude to the acquisition of new knowledge, a new attempt at comprehension or application, or a new analysis and synthesis. (p. 185)  Two types of (judgment) are considered (i.e. those in terms of internal evidence and those in terms of external criteria)  Both types must be made in accordance with “distinct” criteria.

Learn more about “The Dichotomy of Instructional Design” @ http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/kennethfetterman


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Filed under Blooms Taxonomy, Curriculum and Instruction, Education, Instructional Design, professional Development, School Reform Initiatives & Professional Development Strategies, Teaching

School Reform (Taking Action): Establishing Academic Advisory Panels

Advisory panels are being maintained by practitioners of Career and Technical Education!  These panels are essential to ensure that training programs address the need for workplace competencies (i.e. changing knowledge and skill requirements).  As such, Career & Technical educators have an opportunity to audit their curriculum and/or modify their certification requirements (annually) to address innovations (i.e. changes) in the workplace.

We must establish similar mechanisms to perpetuate “innovative” academic programs in our schools and colleges.  Students graduating from high schools (and colleges) in the advancing century must be capable of adapting in a rapidly changing, increasingly more demanding, and technologically interconnected world.  Contemporary (as opposed to stagnant) instructional paradigms must prepare students for life-long learning and employment in the high tech world.  Therefore, academic educators must strive to develop an understanding (and be capable of providing their students with examples) of how the curriculum is relevant to various social and workplace contexts.  Efforts to systematically change how students learn (i.e. to initiate applied academic curriculums) are dependent on the expertise and involvement of technical educators and representatives from business/industry and/or social service organizations.  These individuals may be directly or indirectly associated with the development, implementation, and/or management of curriculum in our schools.

Advisory panels can enhance (and assist) academic programs in a variety of ways.  Committees of business and industry leaders can conduct needs assessments, review proposed changes in the curriculum, consult with teachers and administrators, host groups of teachers and students [e.g. workplace tours], and perform other important roles [e.g. mentoring] in assuring that students … [are prepared for life after graduation] (Bottoms, Presson & Johnson, SREB, 1992, p. 149).

Our capacity to establish high performance schools necessitates a fundamental shift in how society conceptualizes schooling–“the ends” that are desired.  Although feasible, changing curriculum and assessment frameworks to facilitate “applied academics” remains challenging because educational psychology accommodates a spectrum of differences in philosophical beliefs among practitioners.  Learn more about school reform and teacher training via my manuscript(s) published at smashwords.com. 

Becoming A Reflective Practitioner.  (link below)


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Filed under Education, professional Development, School Reform Initiatives & Professional Development Strategies, Teaching