Guiding Students in Writing Data Response Answers Using Bloom’s Taxonomy for Critical Thinking

Abstract

This study focuses on improving students’ ability to respond to data response questions with two or more variables - in particular, students’ ability to describe and compare the data given in data response questions. Based on Bloom’s Taxonomy, a step-by-step guide was crafted on how to approach these type of questions. The methodology used was quantitative data derived from pre- and post-tests, and a qualitative analysis of the post-test scripts. For this research, we picked Secondary 5 Normal (Academic) students who showed difficulty in coping with data response questions that have two or more variables. We found that the guide was useful in scaffolding writing answers for the students. However, while students were able to apply the lower stages of the guide, they were not able to spiral their critical thinking skills to higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Introduction

The Desired Outcomes of Education (DOE) serve as a guide to teachers in crafting their teaching goals. The development of the attributes stated under the DOE are believed to be key in ensuring that our students are able  to thrive in the challenging climate of the 21st Century. One of the ways in which the DOE can be achieved through Geography is through the development of students’ perspectives on Geographical issues by analysing data and information to critically arrive at reasoned conclusions. As such, part of the learning outcomes of the Upper Secondary Geography curriculum (CPDD, 2013) is the development of the following skills:

  1. Extract relevant information from geographical data
  2. Interpret and recognize patterns in geographical data and deduce relationships
  3. Analyse, evaluate and synthesize geographical data to make informed and sound decisions.

As the types of geographical data that students have to work with vary, we felt that providing a structured thinking process would help to scaffold students’ writing, and help them to answer data response questions better.

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An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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