Connecting Rubric Building to Bloom's Digital Taxonomy

What is a Rubric?

Rubrics are a great tool to use when grading project-based assessments. Traditional assessment does not effectively measure a student's inquiry skills (Suthers, Toth, Weiner, 1997). Rubrics contain rating scales, describing levels of quality, to use for grading student work. Merdler (2001) defined them as, "scoring guides, consisting of specific pre-established performance criteria, used in evaluating student work on performance assessments." Generally there are two types of rubrics: holistic and analytic. A holistic rubric is based on scoring an entire product as a whole, rather than evaluating different components (Nitko, 2001). In contrast, when scoring with an analytic rubric, a teacher evaluates individual parts of the final product. In this case the individual scores are added together to obtain one final score (Moskal, 2000; Nitko, 2001).

What are the Benefits of Using Rubric Scoring?
One benefit to using rubrics is that when they are given out at the start of a project, students can use the criteria listed in the rubric as a guide for their work and as a guide for peer assessment during collaboration (Suthers, Toth, Weiner, 1997). They also provide specific feedback to students in a detailed manner. Andrade (2000) provides seven additional reasons teachers should use rubrics for scoring their project-based inquiry:
  1. Easy to use and to explain
  2. Make teachers' expectations very clear
  3. Provide students with more informative feedback about their strengths and areas in need of improvement than traditional forms of assessment do
  4. Support learning
  5. Support the development of skills
  6. Support the development of understanding
  7. Support good thinking

How Do I Create a Rubric?

Steps to creating a rubric, adapted from Andrade (2000) include:
  1. Look at models. Consider the final product of the project your students are about to create and think about examples of good and poor work.
  2. List criteria. Brainstorm a list of criteria that you would like to assess and write down important components of the project.
  3. Pack and unpack criteria. You may generate a long list of criteria. The next step is to combine criterion that maybe similar. Try to avoid large categories or ones that hide items you would like to emphasize.
  4. Articulate levels of quality. For each criterion, list four levels of quality from the lowest to the highest. Consult Bloom's Taxonomy (below) for help with this.
  5. Create a draft rubric. This could be created in a program such as RubiStar.
  6. Revise the draft.
Bloom's Taxonomy from the 1950's

Bloom's Taxonomy from the 1950's

What is Bloom's Taxonomy?

A categorization, developed by Benjamin Bloom in the 1950's, for the thinking process. He provided a continuum from Lower Order Thinking Skills (LOTS) to Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS). The taxonomy was revised in 2001 by Lorin Anderson, a former student of Bloom. The revisions to Bloom's Taxonomy rearranged the sequence within the taxonomy using verbs rather than nouns.
Revised Bloom's Taxonomy

Revised Bloom's Taxonomy

Each element in the revised taxonomy has several key verbs associated with it:
            • Remembering - recognizing, listing, describing, identifying, retrieving, naming, locating, finding
            • Understanding - interpreting, summarizing, inferring, paraphrasing, classifying, comparing, explaining, exemplifying
            • Applying - implementing, carrying out, using, executing
            • Analysing - comparing, organising, deconstructing, attributing, outlining, finding, structuring, integrating
            • Evaluating - checking, hypothesising, critiquing, experimenting, judging, testing, detecting, monitoring
            • Creating - designing, constructing, planning, producing, inventing, devising, making

Bloom's Taxonomy for a Digital Age

In 2008 Churches devised a model for Bloom's Taxonomy for the emergence of digital tools that are often used integrated into classrooms and used by students. For more explanation on the items in blue visit Churches' pdf.

Bloom's Digital Taxonomy
Bloom's Digital Taxonomy
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Anderson, L., Krathwohl, D., Airasian, P., Cruikshank, K., Mayer, R., Pintrich, P., et al. (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives,(abridged edition). New York: Longman, 302.

Andrade, H. (2000). Using rubrics to promote thinking and learning. Educational Leadership, 57(5), 13-19.

Andrade, H. (1999). The effects of instructional rubrics on student writing. Manuscript in preparation.

Bloom, B. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals.

Churches, A. (2008). Bloom's taxonomy blooms digitally. Educators' eZine. Available online

Goodrich, H. (1997). Understanding rubrics. Educational Leadership, 54(4), 14-17.

Mertler, C. (2001). Designing scoring rubrics for your classroom. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 7(25), 1-10.

Moskal, B. M. (2000). Scoring rubrics: what, when, and how?. Practical Assessment, Research, & Evaluation, 7(3). Available online

Nitko, A. J. (2001). Educational assessment of students (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.

Suthers, D., Toth, E., & Weiner, A. (1997). An integrated approach to implementing collaborative inquiry in the classroom.