Date of Award

1-1-2009

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Shrock, Sharon

Abstract

The presence in state standards of the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: Cognitive Domain (referred to Bloom 1 in this study) and A Taxonomy of Learning, Teaching, and Assessing (referred to as Bloom 2 in this study) was examined in this qualitative investigation. Standards for the English language arts eighth grade curriculum were chosen for examination in order to maximize the opportunity for all Bloom levels to appear; all states have language arts standards and eighth grade is the highest grade level at which NCLB testing is mandated. The standards documents of the 36 stated that have language arts standards unique to eighth grade comprised the analyzed data source and were accessed from state education websites. Descriptive narrations of cognitive levels, benchmarks, indicators, strands, sub-strands, writers of the standards, and any and all references to Bloom 1 and Bloom 2 were investigated. Inter-coder reliability was calculated to address the major research question regarding the clarity of reference to cognitive level of the standards. The qualitative content analysis research methodology chosen to answer the study's research questions culminated in the emergence of four major themes. 1) The extent to which the state standards were classifiable according to Bloom 1 or Bloom 2 depended largely upon consonance in assumptions made by the coders regarding a presumed conditions component for the standards; state standards lack condition components specifying what learners are presented with or have access to at the time the competency stated in the standard is demonstrated. 2) Eighth grade English language arts state standards incorporate cognitive learning levels of Bloom 1 and/or Bloom 2 through the range of Bloom levels. The verb "use" was noted as the most frequent taxonomic verb appearing in the standards. 3) Only five states directly referenced Bloom 1 or Bloom 2 in the documents' introduction/overview, table of contents, document guides, acknowledgements, appendices, and/or bibliography. 4) Of the 2,566 standard statements examined, 96 percent appear to be above the lowest Bloom 1 (Knowledge) and Bloom 2 (Remember) level, employing the researcher's assumed condition component. Overall, results showed that while some states incorporate Bloom 1 and/or Bloom 2, a majority of the standards appear to be written in the lower levels of the Bloom taxonomies. The researcher suggested strategies such as collaboration, consulting, training, and surveying students, parents, teachers, administrators, state committees, and agencies on knowledge of and inclusion of the Bloom taxonomic frameworks in order to improve the clarity of the intended cognitive levels set by the state standards.

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