Examination of the Cognitive Level of Questions in Social Studies Textbooks and the Views of Teachers Based on Bloom Taxonomy

Author/s: Bulent Tarman, Burcin Kuran

DOI: 10.12738/estp.2015.1.2625 

Year: 2015 Vol: 15 Number: 1

Abstract

It can be argued that very important changes have been made to textbooks which were rearranged according to the theory of constructivism during the 2004-2005 academic year. The aim of this change was to enable students to acquire high-order cognitive skills. In this study, by using Bloom taxonomy, the pre-reading and reflection (assessment) questions in Social Studies textbooks which have a significant place in education programs were examined to discover the extent to which they give rise to high-order cognitive domain skills. The sample of the research consisted of Social Studies teachers working in the central district of the province of Konya as well as the textbooks which the Ministry of Education requires for use in the 6th and 7th grades. When this study is considered as a whole, it can be seen that there are two stages. Each stage is initially assessed within itself and then compared to the other stage. The holistic multiple case study design was used. In each stage of this study, however, for consideration of the views of teachers and the stages of document analysis, the holistic single design was used. Descriptive analysis was applied to all findings to interpret the collected data. After the relevant literature was reviewed, similar results from studies on this subject were assessed to increase the validity and reliability of this study. In addition, various data was collected through textbooks and focus-group interviews with teachers. Data from examination of the documents was categorized according to question types and their cognitive levels according to Bloom taxonomy via content analysis percentage distributions. The aim of this study was to find out whether high-order cognitive domain skills were reflected in the pre-reading and assessment questions in Social Studies textbooks, and if so, to what extent. Therefore, typical case sampling, one of the purposeful sampling techniques, was utilized. Descriptive analysis was used to interpret the data from the document analysis findings and focus-group interview data. After all the findings were assessed, the 6th grade prep questions were found to be at a low level (84.2%), open-ended assessment questions were at a high level (70.2%), and the multiple-choice assessment questions were at a low level (85%). The 7th grade prep questions were low level at 71.3%, open-ended assessment questions were high level at 66.6%, and 93.05% of multiple-choice questions were low-level questions. When these findings were presented to the Social Studies teachers, they all agreed that the level of the prep questions was lower in general than the cognitive levels of the students. According to the views of teachers regarding this assessment, there were more high-order thinking-level questions which include the levels of analysis, synthesis and assessment when compared to textbooks used from previous years. However, they are still inadequate. According to the results of the study, questions were not distributed in a balanced way in accordance with Bloom taxonomy because there were more low level questions than high level questions.

Keywords
Textbooks, Teachers’ views, Social studies, Preparatory questions and assessment questions, Bloom taxonomy

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