Designing Effective Projects : Thinking Skills Frameworks
Marzano's New Taxonomy

Marzano’s New Taxonomy
Robert Marzano, respected educational researcher, has proposed what he calls A New Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (2000). Developed to respond to the shortcomings of the widely used Bloom’s Taxonomy and the current environment of standards-based instruction, Marzano’s model of thinking skills incorporates a wider range of factors that affect how learners think and provides a more research-based theory to help teachers improve their learners’ thinking.

Marzano’s New Taxonomy is made up of three systems and the Knowledge Domain, all of which are important for thinking and learning. The three systems are the Self-System, the Metacognitive System, and the Cognitive System. When faced with the option of starting a new task, the Self-System decides whether to continue the current behaviour or engage in the new activity; the Metacognitive System sets goals and keeps track of how well they are being achieved; the Cognitive System processes all the necessary information, and the Knowledge Domain provides the content.

The Three Systems and Knowledge


Beliefs About the Importance of Knowledge  Beliefs about Efficacy  Emotions Associated with Knowledge

Metacognitive System

Specifying Learning Goals Monitoring the Execution of Knowledge  Monitoring Clarity  Monitoring Accuracy

Cognitive System

Knowledge Retrieval  Comprehension Analysis Knowledge Utilization
Error Analysis
Decision Making
Problem Solving
Experimental Inquiry

Knowledge Domain

Information   Mental Procedures Physical Procedures

Classroom Example
Libby, a Grade 3 learner is thinking about a pyjama party she is going to attend this weekend when her teacher begins a math lesson. Libby’s Self-System decides to stop thinking about the party and engage in the lesson. Her Metacognitive System tells her to pay attention and ask questions so she can do the work. Her Cognitive System provides her with the thinking strategies she needs to make sense of the teacher’s instructions. The mathematical knowledge about concepts and procedures makes it possible for her to complete the problems successfully. Each component of the New Taxonomy contributes to Libby’s success at learning the math concept and skills of the lesson.

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