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Writing multiple choice questions using Bloom’s Taxonomy

As mentioned in last week’s blog post, we will show you examples of multiple choice questions using Bloom’s Taxonomy.

To refresh your memory, here is a quick review of Bloom’s Taxonomy:

Using higher order thinking questions does not mean you stop using lower-order questions. You just want a balance. Here’s are examples of multiple choice questions using Bloom’s Taxonomy by the University of Texas at Austin, Faculty Innovation Center.


1. In the area of physical science, which one of the following definitions describes the term “polarization”?

A. The separation of electric charges by friction.
B. The ionization of atoms by high temperatures.
C. The interference of sound waves in a closed chamber.
D. The excitation of electrons by high-frequency light.
E. The vibration of transverse waves in a single plane.

Simple recall of the correct definition of polarization is required.


2. Which one of the following describes what takes place in the so-called PREPARATION stage of the creative process, as applied to the solution of a particular problem?

A. The problem is identified and defined.
B. All available information about the problem is collected.
C. An attempt is made to see if the proposed solution to the problem is acceptable.
D. The person goes through some experience leading to a general idea of how the problem can be solved.
E. The person sets the problem aside, and gets involved with some other unrelated activity.

The knowledge of the five stages of the creative process must be recalled (knowledge), and the student is tested for an understanding (comprehension) of the meaning of each term, in this case, “preparation.”


3. Which one of the following memory systems does a piano-tuner mainly use in his occupation?

A. Echoic memory
B. Short-term memory
C. Long-term memory
D. Mono-auditory memory
E. None of the above

This question tests for the application of previously acquired knowledge (the various memory systems).


4. Read carefully through the paragraph below, and decide which of the options A-D is correct.

“The basic premise of pragmatism is that questions posed by speculative metaphysical propositions can often be answered by determining what the practical consequences of the acceptance of a particular metaphysical proposition are in this life. Practical consequences are taken as the criterion for assessing the relevance of all statements or ideas about truth, norm, and hope.”

A. The word “acceptance” should be replaced by “rejection.”
B. The word “often” should be replaced by “only.”
C. The word “speculative” should be replaced by hypothetical.”
D. The word “criterion” should be replaced by “measure.”
This question requires prior knowledge of and understanding about the concept of pragmatism.

The student is tested on his/her ability to analyze whether a word fits with the accepted definition of pragmatism.


5. Judge the sentence in italics according to the criteria given below:

“The United States took part in the Gulf War against Iraq BECAUSE of the lack of civil liberties imposed on the Kurds by Saddam Hussein’s regime.”

A. The assertion and the reason are both correct, and the reason is valid.
B. The assertion and the reason are both correct, but the reason is invalid.
C. The assertion is correct but the reason is incorrect.
D. The assertion is incorrect but the reason is correct.
E. Both the assertion and the reason are incorrect.


A knowledge and understanding of Middle East politics are assumed. The student is tested in the ability to evaluate between cause and effect in the sentence in terms of predefined criteria.

In conclusion, writing multiple choice questions using Bloom’s Taxonomy gives instructors a foundation to examine course goals and assessment. Additionally, the increase in cognitive demand associated with higher-order questions refers to the complexity of the questions, not the difficulty. In reality, it is always good to have a balance between lower order and higher order thinking questions to effectively assess students’ learning.


Mark Espinola
CEO + Founder of GradeHub



Lord, Thomas R., et al. College Science Teachers Guide to Assessment. National Science Teachers Association, 2009.

Hellyer, S. (n.d.). A teaching handbook for university faculty. Chapter 1: Course

objectives. Retrieved October 1, 1998 from Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis Web site:

Carneson, J., Delpierre, G., & Masters, K. (n.d.). Designing and managing multiple
choice questions: Appendix C, multiple choice questions and Bloom’s taxonomy. Retrieved November 3, 2003 from the University of Cape Town Web site:

Zimmaro, Dawn M. Https:// . University of Texas at Austin, 2016, h ,