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Volume 8, Issue 2 (October 2016), pp. 59-70

DOI: 10.12973/ejpce.2016.00006a

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Research Article

Published online on Jul 28, 2016

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Analysis of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination Chemistry Questions according to Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy

Johnson Enero Upahi, David Oluwadamilare IsraeI & Adekunle Solomon Olorundare


The current reform initiatives in science education placed a deliberate emphasis on the need for students to develop students’ higher order cognitive skills (HOCS) through question asking, critical thinking, and problem solving. One of the ways to achieve this goal is to improve on the quality of questions asked in examinations. This study adopted the framework of Bloom’s revised taxonomy to analyze chemistry examination questions conducted by the West African Examinations Council. 328 Chemistry questions for a period of 5 years were analyzed using this framework that reflects dual perspective on learning and cognition. The results revealed that 80% of the questions merely measured students’ lower order cognitive skills (LOCS), while 49.4% and 19.5% of the questions measured conceptual and procedural knowledge respectively. The results further revealed that none of the questions require students to employ their cognition (metacognitive knowledge). It is concluded that the questions emphasized LOCS, and do not adequately reflect the advocacy for HOCS-oriented assessments.
Keywords: Bloom’s revised taxonomy, cognitive process skills, knowledge dimension, chemistry questions, higher order cognitive skills

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