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Using Idylls of the King: Song from The Marriage of Geraint by Alfred Lord Tennyson as a small sample from a extensive work, "higher level" questions are those that require application, analysis, synthesis, or evaluation, as Benjamin Bloom lays out in Bloom's Taxonomy in which he defines the distinctions pertaining to levels of questions. Higher level questions require the discussion of more than knowledge and comprehension. They require the use of higher order cognitive skills.
According to Bloom's Taxonomy (BT), application requires problem solving or the production of a result through the use of "facts, rules and principles." These questions revolve around the phrases "example of," "related to," and "significance of."
BT says that analysis is the process whereby parts are examined to reveal overall structure and to reveal the underlying structure of a communication. Analysis also identifies motives and the separation of a whole into component parts. These questions revolve around the phrases "outline or diagram," "parts or features of," "classify according to," "compare or contrast," "list evidence for."
Synthesis according to BT is the creation of a "unique, original" product in either verbal or physical form. Some call this "creativity": taking the known to form the new by combining ideas to "form a new whole." These questions revolve around the phrases "predict or infer," "add ideas to," "create or design," "what will happen if combined with," "suggest solutions for/to."
Evaluation is the highest level in BT. It requires making value decisions about ideas, works, issues, events, etc. Based on evaluations, controversies or differences of opinion are resolved. In addition, but also based on value decisions, opinions, judgments or decisions are developed. These questions revolve around the phrases "agree with/on," "think about," "most important," "order of priority," decide about," and "criteria used to asses."
On the application level, a higher level question pertaining to Idylls of the King: Song from The Marriage of Geraint might be, "How does Tennyson's defiance of Fortune relate to religious belief?" On the analysis level, a higher level question might be, "What evidence does Tennyson give for his defiance of Fortune?" On the synthesis level, a higher level question might be, "Predict what Tennyson might say to someone whose child was drowned at sea?" On the evaluation level, a higher level question might be, "What criteria would you use to asses the soundness of Tennyson's opinion that Fortune is not to be dreaded?"
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