The Blooming Anatomy Tool (BAT): A discipline-specific rubric for utilizing Bloom's taxonomy in the design and evaluation of assessments in the anatomical sciences

Andrew R. Thompson, Valerie D. O'Loughlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations


Bloom's taxonomy is a resource commonly used to assess the cognitive level associated with course assignments and examination questions. Although widely utilized in educational research, Bloom's taxonomy has received limited attention as an analytical tool in the anatomical sciences. Building on previous research, the Blooming Anatomy Tool (BAT) was developed. This rubric provides discipline-specific guidelines to Blooming anatomy multiple-choice questions (MCQs). To test the efficacy of the BAT, a group of volunteers were randomly split up and asked to Bloom a series of anatomy MCQs using either the BAT or a traditional Bloom's reference called Bloom's Learning Objectives (BLO). Both groups utilized each rubric for a different series of MCQs. Examination question categorizations made using each rubric were tested for accuracy and interrater reliability. In addition, previous experience in anatomy and Bloom's taxonomy were considered. Results demonstrated that volunteers using the BAT had consistently higher levels of interrater reliability, but accuracy varied and was similar between rubrics. Neither measure was substantially impacted by experience in Bloom's taxonomy or anatomy. A poststudy survey indicated that volunteers strongly preferred the BAT and felt it was more helpful in categorizing anatomy MCQs than the BLO. These results suggest that the BAT can be useful in educational research in the anatomical sciences to aid in aligning observer judgment on Bloom taxonomic levels and improve consistency, especially when used in conjunction with a norming session prior to data collection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)493-501
Number of pages9
JournalAnatomical Sciences Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015



  • Assessments
  • Bloom's taxonomy
  • Cognitive skills
  • Gross anatomy education
  • Learning objectives
  • Multiple choice questions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology
  • Embryology

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