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Cognitive Outcome Verbs

Cognitive outcome verbs

(psychomotor and affective domains here)

If you want to see if students KNOW the material, consider these verbs: define, repeat, list, name, label, ask, observe, memorize, record, recall, fill in, listen, match, recite, select, draw
If you want to know if students UNDERSTAND, try these verbs: restate, describe, explain, tell, identify, discuss, recognize, review, express, locate, report, estimate, distinguish, paraphrase, document, defend, generalize
If you are interested in a student's ability to APPLY learning, consider change, compute, demonstrate, show, operate, use, solve, sequence, test, classify, translate, employ, construct, dramatize, illustrate, interpret, manipulate, write
If you want to assess student ability to ANALYZE, these are helpful verbs: dissect, differentiate, calculate, contrast, debate, solve, appraise, experiment, diagram, inventory, relate, map, categorize, defend
If the student's ability to EVALUATE is your interest, consider these verbs: compare, conclude, criticize, justify, support, state, discriminate, summarize, recommend, rate, decide, select
If you want to explore students' preparation to "pull it all together" or to SYNTHESIZE, here are some verbs to consider: create, compose, propose, formulate, set up, assemble, construct, manage, invent, produce, hypothesize, plan, design, organize, prepare, speculate

Once you have a draft of your course or program outcomes, you might ask students to read them and tell you what they mean.  Their inevitable misunderstanding will help to refine and perfect the wording. Additionally, you might ask colleagues from another department or from another university to do the same thing.