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Guiding Students through the Cognitive Learning Process with Post-Test Analysis

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Description This is a multi-step assignment that intends to help students learn about Bloom’s Taxonomy and determine how assessment activities, particularly exams, utilize these different cognitive learning levels. It has been adapted from Student Engagement Techniques by Elizabeth Barkley [2010]. While teaching science majors in the core biology courses, I was very surprised to find that a large portion of the students felt learning biology was about memorization instead of analyzing and interpreting information and observations. Most had no idea about Bloom’s taxonomy of cognitive learning or how it might apply to their studying and learning. I have begun to utilize post-test analysis to help students recognize the different levels of learning that they are being assessed during assignments and exams.
Type of Resource Assessment: other, Assignment/Activity (Non-Laboratory/Non-Hands on Activity)
Format Portable Document Format - PDF
Kelly Wentz-Hunter, Roosevelt University
Development Date April 9, 2013
Grade/Age Level Undergraduate lower division (Grades 13-14)
Learning Time <=1 hour
Language English
Type of Review Reviewed By LifeSciTRC Board
Review Date June 28, 2013
Funding Source None
Suggested Use


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I agree with Deborah. This is a wonderful idea and I have used something similar before. But to have students do this in class would be impossible in my classes due to time limits.

Wanda Goleman, Northwestern State University

I think this is an excellent plan to assist students in learning to study and think in order to perform better on assessments. I am regulary looking for ways to improve student outcomes. Unfortunately, however,  we do not have the time to do this type of analysis after an exam in the courses I teach.

Deborah Miller, D.C., Chattahoochee Technical College

A very nice guide that walks students through the thought process of evaluating their own work practices - metacognitive approach.  While I've used a similar approach verbally with students who are having trouble, having all of the students perform this analysis might be more effective.  I've thought of Blooms Taxonomy as primarily something for teachers, but I've changed my mind after seeing this assignment.  Still, it takes a certain degree of maturity for students to gain from this assignment.  Overall great work.  I will use with modifications in my course.

Joshua Gray, U.S. Coast Guard Academy

This is a well-thought out guide to engaging students in thinking about how they are thinking (and preparing) for exams.   I have done a similar (less structured) approach of having students write themselves a letter after the first exam, evaluating what they had done and how they thought they may have done on the exam.  The responses were quite honest and I found that it concretely helped students improve their approaches to study.  I will definintely incorporated this expanded approach in my classes.

Christina Wilson-Bowers, Southwestern University

This activity prepares students for problem-based learning and critical learning activities by helping them better understand how they learn.  Students are highly accustomed to rote learning and are not given the opportunity to understand the rationale for testing, particularly in relationship to higher-order learning activities.

Brian Shmaefsky, Lone Star College - Kingwood

A brief introduction and summary of Bloom's taxonomy - designed to help students recognize and appropriately deal with higher level questions. It asks students to predict their performance and then challenges them to understand ways that their preparation may have been inadequate of inappropriate.

Dexter Speck, University of Kentucky