As a review lecturer for the licensure examination of graduate nurses, it is imperative for us to prepare our students not only for the upcoming examination but also in the real-life world of being professional nurses. For most of them, getting their licenses is one of the very best things that will happen in their lives as they will become eligible to practice their aspired profession. The empathy is really there as I once experienced dreaming the same. Working on this, I know I have to devote time and effort to make their review stay with us worthwhile and fruitful.
One advantage of enrolling in a review center as I used to say among my students is that they will be trained to answer board-like questions (and not necessarily LEAKAGE of course) which is very different from answering those sample questions that can be found among commercially available books or review materials. For most registered nurses and even those retakers, they pretty know what I mean by this. The way the board of nursing “attack” the pool of questions is really different and should I say complicated. Therefore, questions must be patterned that way to at least expose the students in the battle they will soon engage at.
Fortunately, the examination which is composed of 500 multiple choice items can be viewed as combinations of different levels of questions as far as difficulty is concerned. That is why I have equated it to Bloom’s taxonomy. Because of this, I prepare my review examinations for my students in such a way that the types of questions are of different levels. Though the entire set is on a multiple-choice type, I am pretty sure I’m still able to incorporate the said technique. On the first part for example is simply a test of recall (remembering), followed by items that need interpreting first what the question is really asking for before it can be answered correctly (comprehension). The next part would be application of the learned theories and concepts in the real-world setting (as future nurses in their case). Then, usually on the topics of ethical issues in the practice of nursing, there comes a pool of questions requiring deep analysis and evaluation in order to arrive at the best possible course of action, hence correct answer. Further, when I am discussing the correct answer for very item, I let them think of the reasons why they chose their respective answers in the first place so that comparison can then be made that is hoped to result in consensus.
When it comes to the highest level identified by Bloom which is creation, I think it can’t be appreciated in a multiple choice type of exam as students need to synthesize and generate “new” concepts or ideas out of what was discussed or presented to them. I believe essays and comparative analysis will better serve this purpose. In general, as I have observed, most of my students commit much errors on the higher level of thinking. As they’ve mentioned, it’s easy to memorize yet very hard to apply in complex situations.
At this point, I have to say that Bloom’s taxonomy can be utilized by educators even in the elementary and high school levels in order to better prepare the students in facing real-world situations in the future. Sometimes, teachers have the tendency to evaluate students’ performance though shallow parameters like using a very objective type of exam requiring only simple recall of the previous topics discussed. I believe that if they will be exposed at a higher order of thinking through complex tasks, they will do better in their academic endeavour. Careful balance however is necessary to avoid overwhelming the learners in a sense that is very taxing on their abilities.