JITE v36n3 - Book Review - A Conceptual Framework for Educational Objectives: A Holistic Approach to Traditional Taxonomies

Volume 36, Number 3
Spring 1999

Hauenstein, A. D. (1998). A conceptual framework for educational objectives: A holistic approach to traditional taxonomies. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, $32.00, 124 pp.

Dominic A. Mohamed
Florida International Unviersity

The audiences for this book are elementary, middle school, secondary, vocational, technical, adult teachers, and curriculum planners. The book is intended as a supplemental textbook for individuals enrolled in graduate educational psychology courses, graduate seminars, curriculum, and methods courses for those who are concerned with educational objectives in their areas of specialization. It is also intended as a reference for inservice teacher training, updating, and development in school systems, organizations, and agencies involved with training personnel.


The purpose of the book is to provide teachers and curriculum planners with a holistic approach to traditional taxonomies of educational objectives. The holistic approach includes a conceptual framework for educational objectives, redefined cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domain taxonomies, and a composite behavioral domain of objectives for whole learning. The author asserts that traditional cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains and their taxonomies of objectives in most books dealing with objectives have treated them as separate and unconnected entities, are too numerous, are often incompatible, and are too difficult to apply in the classroom. This book posits an instructional system which includes a composite fourth domain, a behavioral domain, as a means of consolidating and unifying the domains; reduces the number of taxonomic categories and subcategories; facilitates classroom application; and provides for the integration of subject matter from various disciplines, whether the redefined taxonomies are used separately or as a composite for teaching the whole individual. The book consists of a preface and six chapters.

Chapter 1 introduces the context of constructivism, the traditional taxonomies of educational objectives, the conceptual framework, the behavioral domain, and briefly discusses the need.

Chapter 2 defines knowledge and differentiates knowledge from information and content. Information/content is an input to the process objectives. Information/content (others' knowledge) is seen as an external input and does not become knowledge (internal) for the student until the student has had some experience with the information. Information/content (others' knowledge) is classified into four functions: symbolic, prescriptive, descriptive, and technological information/content (other's knowledge).

Chapters 3, 4, and 5 analyze, evaluate, and redefine the traditional taxonomies of the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domain objectives, respectively, in relation to five taxonomic criteria or rules. Subordinate objectives are critiqued against the criteria and a rationale for change is discussed. Redefined taxonomies of objectives are presented with definitions and applicable test descriptors.

Chapter 6 integrates and defines the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains as a unified composite behavioral domain. The behavioral domain taxonomy is presented as a learning process. Assessment of student development and achievement is discussed via a behavioral profile. The behavioral domain objectives are classified as short term and long term objectives for classroom application. Also, in this chapter the 63 traditional categories and subcategories of objectives are synthesized and reduced to 5 generic categories and 15 subcategories of educational objectives. All of the redefined taxonomies, (cognitive, affective, psychomotor, and behavioral) have five levels of development and difficulty, and have levels compatible to each other in purpose and function.


This is the only book that this reviewer has read over the past few years that has re-examined the widely accepted taxonomies of educational objectives. These long standing books on taxonomies of educational objectives, namely: Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: Cognitive Domain (Bloom, Englehart, Furst, Hill, & Krathwohl, 1956), Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: Affective Domain (Krathwohl, Bloom, & Masia, 1964), and various psychomotor domain taxonomies have inconsistent rules for taxonomic structuring and criteria to judge the validity of the taxonomies. The taxonomies in the books cited above are generally arranged in a hierarchy by levels of presumed development and difficulty. There is no composite behavioral domain to facilitate the attainment of objectives for the development of the whole individual. The author of this book remedies the situation with a conceptual framework (instructional system) as a unifying context. The cognitive, affective, and psychomotor objectives of each domain are redefined in this book and reduced to five categories each, and they are combined into a new composite behavioral domain with five categories and fifteen subcategories (three subcategories for each category).

The redefined and new behavioral taxonomies found in this book should be useful to vocational and technical teachers interested in teaching the whole individual. The simplified behavioral taxonomy should be useful in classroom and laboratory applications, e.g., lesson planning with levels of behavioral outcomes, identification of critical information inputs to achieve outcomes, and assessment of learning outcomes, as well as, curriculum planning for the development of the individual. The conceptual models and illustrations presented are most useful to understanding the relevance of the work.

The scope and content of this book are, therefore, very appropriate to the audience. The redefined traditional and the new behavioral taxonomies are treated thoroughly. The organization, structure, and framework of the book is logical with practical examples. The flow of the conceptual framework for educational objectives is from basic rationale to instructional applications. This book should be very valuable to teachers and curriculum developers and planners.


Tracy Gilmore