Knowledge of Bloom's hierarchy of cognitive levels of educational objectives and its use in setting examinations by Nurse educators in Lusaka and Eastern Provinces
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The use of Bloom’s hierarchy of cognitive levels of educational objectives as a tool for classroom assessments is rapidly increasing; therefore Nurse Educators’ knowledge of the tool is vital (De Young, 2009; Kim, et al., 2012; Cook, 2013; Agbedia and Ogbe, 2014). The prime objective of this study was to investigate nurse educators’ knowledge of Bloom’s hierarchy of cognitive levels of educational objectives and whether they use it when preparing test items for examinations. A cross sectional study was conducted in nursing training schools in Lusaka and Eastern provinces of Zambia. The study sample comprised of 63 Nurse Educators who were selected using convenient sampling method and a total of 51 past examination question papers with 3,358 questions from all the levels of basic nursing programs were reviewed between 2011 and 2013. A self administered questionnaire was used to collect data from nurse educators while a checklist with cognitive levels of educational objectives was used to collect data from the past examination papers. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20 was used to analyse data. The Chi Square test was used to compare the proportions. A result yielding a P value of less than 5 percent was considered to be statistically significant. The findings were that more than half (64%) of nurse educators had low knowledge on Bloom’s hierarchy of cognitive levels of educational objectives. Majority (92%) of the respondents did not follow Bloom’s hierarchy of cognitive levels while 8% followed it when preparing test items for examinations. The greater percentage (95%) of examination questions prepared by nurse educators were dominated by low order cognitive category (knowledge and comprehension). Only 5% of examination questions were prepared at higher order level (application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation). The study also revealed that nursing schools had no standardized assessment guidelines to follow when preparing test items for examinations. The study revealed that nurse educators did not have blue prints to act as a guide on the number of questions to prepare in each level of cognitive domain and test items/examination questions were not reviewed by either peers or any committee before being administered to students. Results from the study indicated that (90%) of nurse educators assented that Continuing Professional Development meetings on assessment techniques were not conducted in the schools of nursing.
The University of Zambia