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These are Active Verbs which you can use to express demonstrable/measurable learning achievements. The list is based on the six subsequent levels of understanding called "Bloom's Taxonomy". The higher the level, the more abstract the understanding of the matter, or achievement.

  1. Knowledge, Observation, & Recall of Information: i.e., knowledge of dates, events, places; knowledge of major ideas; mastery of subject matter.
    Use these Active Verbs: arrange, collect, define, duplicate, examine, label, list, memorize, name (who, when, where, etc.), order, quote, recall, recite, recognize, relate, repeat, reproduce, show, state, tabulate, tell
    Example Learning Outcomes:
    • Define iambic pentameter
    • State Newton's Laws of Motion
    • Identify the major Impressionist painters
  2. Comprehension - Understanding Information: i.e., grasp meaning; translate knowledge into new context; interpret facts, compare, contrast, order, group, infer causes, predict consequences.
    Use these Active Verbs: associate, classify, contrast, describe, discuss, differentiate, discuss, distinguish, estimate, explain, express, extend, identify, indicate, interpret, list, locate, recognize, report, restate, review, select, summarize, trace, translate
    Example Learning Outcomes:
    • Describe data presented in graphs....
    • Summarize the main ideas of...
  3. Application: i.e., use information; use methods, concepts, theories in new situations; solve problems using required skills or knowledge.
    Use these Active Verbs: apply, calculate, change, choose, classify, complete, compose examples of, demonstrate, describe, discover, employ, examine, experiment, illustrate, interpret, modify, operate, practice, relate, scan, schedule, show, sketch, solve, use.
    Example Learning Outcomes:
    • Describe an experiment to test the influence of light and light quality
      on the Hill reaction of photosynthesis.
    • Scan a poem for metric foot and meter scheme.
    • Use the Archimedes principle to determine the volume of an irregularly
      shaped object.
  4. Analysis: i.e. seeing patterns, organization of parts, recognition of hidden meanings, identification of components
    Use these Active Verbs: analyze, appraise, arrange, calculate, categorize, compare, contrast, criticize, determine, differentiate, discriminate, distinguish, divide, examine, experiment, explain, infer, order, question, select, separate, test.
    Example Learning Outcomes:
    • List and analyze arguments for and against gun control.
    • Determine the necessary controls for an experiment.
    • Discuss the rationale and efficacy of isolationism in the global economy.
  5. Synthesis: i.e. use old ideas to create new ones, generalize from given facts, relate knowledge from several areas, predict, draw conclusions.
    Use these Active Verbs: arrange, assemble, collect, combine, compose, construct, create, design, formulate, generalize, integrate, invent, manage, modify, organize, plan, predict, prepare, propose, rearrange, rewrite, set up, substitute. 
    Example Learning Outcomes:
    • Compose a logical argument on assisted suicide supported with
      well-selected evidence drawn from a variety of relevant sources.
    • Construct a helium-neon laser.
  6. Evaluation: i.e. compare and discriminate between ideas; assess value of theories, presentations; make choices based on reasoned argument; verify value of evidence; recognize subjectivity
    Use these Active Verbs: appraise, argue, assess, challenge, choose, conclude, convince, decide, defend, discriminate, dispute, evaluate, grade, judge, measure, rank, rate, recommend, score, select, support, test, value. 
    Example Learning Outcomes:
    • Assess the validity of the conclusions based on data and statistical analysis.
    • Critically analyze and evaluate a novel, supported by well-selected textual evidence and appropriate criteria for evaluation.
    • Propose defensible stock market investments based on company performance and projected value.

All information on this page is copied or adapted from http://web.cocc.edu/fat/toolkitresources/toolkit/outcomes.html accessed on December 11, 2005.

Sebastian Springer 2005-17.

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