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Common Core

The New Essential Standards are written using the Revised Bloom's Taxonomy (RBT) under the guidance of one of the authors of the revision, Lorin Anderson. North Carolina has chosen RBT to help move to the complex thinking expected from 21st Century graduates. The RBT was chosen because it has well-defined verbs and is built on modern cognitive research. Below is a very short primer on the RBT. Webinars, tools and resources for understanding and using the RBT will be made available throughout the winter and spring.

The RBT categorizes both the cognitive process and the knowledge dimension of the standard.

Cognitive Process:
The cognitive process refers to the verb used in the standard. This chart (pdf, 76kb) shows the verbs used in the RBT. The RBT has specific definitions for all the verbs used in the taxonomy. For example:

  • Explaining requires constructing a cause-and-effect model of a system (e.g. explain the recent downturn in the global economy)
  • Inferring requires drawing a logical conclusion from presented information (e.g. In learning a foreign language, infer grammatical principles from examples)

A common understanding of those verbs will be at the backbone of professional development around the new standards.

Knowledge Dimension:
The knowledge dimension is a way to categorize the type of knowledge to be learned. For instance, in the standard "The student will understand the concept of equality as it applies to solving problems with unknown quantities", the knowledge to be learned is "the concept of equality as it applies to solving problems with unknown quantities."

Knowledge in the RBT falls into four categories:

  • Factual Knowledge
  • Conceptual Knowledge
  • Procedural Knowledge
  • Meta-Cognitive Knowledge

RBT Knowledge Chart
More detail on the sub-types of knowledge.
(pdf, 86kb)

Standards can be charted based on the cognitive process and knowledge dimension using a chart(pdf, 83kb). It is also important to note that although RBT standards focus on particular verbs, "most authentic tasks require the coordinated use of several cognitive processes as well as several types of knowledge." (Anderson, Lorin and David Krathwohl, A Taxonomy For Learning, Teaching and Assessing. New York: Longman, 2001. Pg. 89)


On June 2, 2010, North Carolina adopted the Common Core State Standards in K-12 Mathematics and K-12 English Language Arts released by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers. With the adoption of these state-led education standards, North Carolina is in the first group of states to embrace clear and consistent goals for learning to prepare children for success in college and work. The full Common Core standards can be viewed at A copy of the slides used at the June 2nd North Carolina Board of Education meeting can be found below.