2.3 Creating Objectives

A learning objective is a short statement of the goals and objectives that students should know or be able to put into practice after a lesson.

Key Points

  • Teacher’s curriculum guides often provide overarching objectives for a unit of study in your content area’s standards.  Teachers must use the standards for their content area to individual teacher to formulate learning objectives for daily lesson plans. (To view the standards for the various content areas in New York State, visit the New York State Department of Education website)
  • Bloom’s Taxonomy (Bloom et al., 1956) is a framework that categorizes different educational goals. Each level of the Taxonomy has a different level of complexity. The lowest levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy require lower order thinking skills (ex. remembering and understanding) and the categories on the higher level of the Taxonomy require higher-order thinking skills (analyzing, evaluating and creating).


Learning Objective

  • Any fact, technique or other outcome that a student is expected to achieve at the end of a specific course of instruction

A learning objective is a short statement of the goals and objectives that students should know or be able to put into practice after a lesson. Focusing on what students should know is frequently called the “cognitive” approach; focusing on what students should be able to do is known as the “behavioral” approach. While most teachers are, by temperament, drawn to one of the two approaches, in practice, most teachers often combine the two, perhaps without knowing it.

Large-scale learning objectives will be articulated in a teacher’s curriculum guide, but it is up to each individual teacher to formulate learning objectives for individual lesson plans. Teachers must create lesson plans that include objectives that are:

  1. Measurable
  2. Observable
  3. Content-based
  4. Student-centered
  5. Aligned to the state standards

New York State provides teachers with a curriculum that needs to be covered in a specific course. The teacher must create objectives that align with the curriculum. Teachers need to make sure that they can measure if the students have met the objectives of the lesson. This can be achieved by giving formative and summative assessments (Types of assessments will be discussed in Chapter 6). If students do not meet the objective of the lesson, a teacher needs to be aware and try to remediate to ensure that students can meet the objectives with support from the teacher or a fellow student. In order to be able to measure objectives teachers have to be able to observe the student meeting the objective. For example, I caution pre-service teachers to not use “know” or “understand” in their objectives. These verbs are not concrete and they hard to measure.

It is important to have 2-3 objectives in a lesson plan. This allows the teacher to scaffold instruction (Wood, Bruner, and Ross, 1976). Teachers have to consider that students have varying levels of readiness to complete a certain task. If teachers offer support to students during the learning process, they may be able to complete complex tasks. Teachers can use multiple levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy to create objectives that start with tasks that require lower order thinking skills, and moving to more complex tasks that require higher order thinking instruction. If there are multiple objectives, a teacher can measure what objective the students did not meet, and just address that part of the lesson.

Example Objectives

Knowledge (1):

The student will be able to list the parts of a fish with 85% accuracy

The student will be able to recognize nouns in a sentence with 85% accuracy.

Comprehension (2):

The student will be able to paraphrase the results of the survey on the effects of second-hand smoke with 85% accuracy.

The student will be able to summarize Wilson’s Fourteen Points with 85% accuracy.

Application (3):

The student will produce argumentative essays on school uniforms with 85% accuracy.

The student will be able create a graph of emissions of greenhouse gases with 85% accuracy.

Analysis (4):

The student will be able to compare and contrast mitosis and meiosis with 85% accuracy.

The student will be able to explain the various ways to solve an equation 85% accuracy.

Evaluation (5):

The student will be able to critique the New Deal policies with 85% accuracy

The student will be able to evaluate the effectiveness of U.S. propaganda during WWII with 85%.

Create (6):

The student will be able to construct a program for addressing flood disaster relief with 85% accuracy.

The student will be able to create an annotated timeline of the Cold War with 85% accuracy.


For the activity, students will be able to write objectives for each category of Bloom’s Taxonomy on the topic of your choosing

Step 1: Pick a topic (does not have to be in you content area)

Step 2: You will create six objectives relating to the topic you choose using action verbs from each category of Bloom’s taxonomy. You must number each of the objectives to correspond with the different categories

  1. Remember
  2. Understand
  3. Apply
  4. Analyze
  5. Evaluate
  6. Create

Step 3: Print pages one through four of the cube template. Using these pages, write one objective on each side of the cube

Step 4: Fold the cube on the lines and glue the appropriate tabs

Step 5: Be ready to share and discuss your objectives for the next class meeting