Questions to Assess Synthesis

Here are some tips to consider when testing Bloom’s learning objective, Synthesis (Bloom and Krathwohl, 1956.
  • When writing a question to assess synthesis you should take into account that the question should clearly present the new information to the student.
  •  The process of synthesis is similar to analysis in that the student needs to demonstrate the ability to break down the subject matter into chosen parts and then apply these parts and turn them into something new. This would generally require a more extensive discussion of the material.  Because of this, when asking the student to synthesise information, it would be good practice to present the information in an essay question type in order to allow the student to present what is likely to be a large amount of information.
  •  It is not suggested that you use a multiple choice question to assess synthesis as it would difficult to structure it clearly and may not give the student sufficient opportunity to demonstrate synthesis as a learning objective.
  •  Similarly to this, when assessing synthesis as a learning objective you would generally be asking the student to create, develop or propose material, all of which are actions verbs which suggest a greater deal of depth is required in the student’s answer. Therefore it would be less constraining to present the question as a long answer question as opposed to a short answer question.

Suggested Question Types

Note: The purpose of these articles is to provide you with general advice in the fields of assessment and testing. These articles are not intended to replace any regulations or instructions provided by your organisation, but may be used in conjunction with these materials to support the assessment process.

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