23 junio, 2024

Marzano’s taxonomy: what it consists of and what it is for

The Marzano’s taxonomy is a classification system of educational objectives developed by Marzano and Kendall based on Bloom’s taxonomy, one of the best known in the field. This classification of objectives was created primarily to incorporate new insights into how humans process information.

These discoveries were made over the decades that followed the publication of Bloom’s original taxonomy. The authors of Kendall’s taxonomy thought that although Bloom wanted to create a practical theory that would help create educational goals, he was unsuccessful in this endeavor.

On the contrary, it created a theoretical system that did not have a great impact on the school curriculum. For this reason, these authors tried to create a more practical taxonomy that would help to improve the educational system. By creating a more applicable grading system, teachers could better tailor their teaching to their students.

What is Marzano’s taxonomy?

Marzano’s taxonomy is mainly made up of two dimensions that interact with each other: knowledge domains and processing levels.

– Domains of knowledge

There are three domains of knowledge: information, mental procedures and psychomotor procedures. It is about the type of learning that a student can carry out.

Marzano’s taxonomy considers that the knowledge that we can learn is mainly of three types:


It is about the acquisition of raw data, such as dates, historical events or theories. It is what we usually understand commonly as “knowledge”. It is a purely mental learning.

mental procedures

They are ways of thinking that require following a few steps to reach a goal. For example, the application of mathematical formulas or a logical thought system would be types of mental procedures. So would learning to read or speak a new language.

psychomotor procedures

They are all knowledge related to the use of the body and physical abilities. Within this classification we can find all sports skills and other skills such as writing or playing an instrument.

– Processing levels

Although they are usually divided into three (cognitive, metacognitive, and internal or self), in practice they are usually divided into six sublevels. This is the level of depth with which the student can acquire new knowledge.

The classification of processing levels is as follows:

The cognitive level

The information is still conscious. Here we can find four sublevels, which are the following: retrieval, understanding, analysis and use of knowledge.

The metacognitive level

New knowledge is applied to regulate one’s own mental processes. Thanks to metacognitive learning, you can set goals and self-regulate to achieve them.

internal level or self

It occurs when a new knowledge affects the belief system of the individual who acquires it.

Both classifications interact with each other, so within each of the three types of learning we can find a description of the six levels of processing.

What is it for?

Gradual knowledge increase

The taxonomy created by Marzano and Kendall is more practice-oriented, in such a way that it focuses on the design of specific tasks to gradually increase the level of knowledge of the learner. This design improvement is achieved, above all, taking into account processes that were not present in Bloom’s taxonomy.

Some of these processes that Marzano and Kendall included in their taxonomy are emotions, the person’s beliefs, their self-awareness, and the ability to create goals. All these processes are part of what is known in the world of research as metacognition.

More adult focused

Because metacognition develops over the years, the Marzano and Kendall taxonomy is more oriented towards working with adults and the acquisition of professional skills. However, it can also be used when working with children.

The most important part of the work of these authors is its theoretical foundation; that is, the inclusion of all the scientific knowledge created in the last decades about the functioning of human learning.


Thanks to the addition of this knowledge, Marzano’s taxonomy has some advantages over Bloom’s:

– Greater number of suggestions for working with learning objectives, depending on whether it is pure information, mental procedures or psychomotor procedures.

– Better knowledge about certain fundamental processes in learning, such as emotion, memory, motivation and metacognition.

– Greater precision when creating learning objectives, having a more specific map of the types of knowledge that can be acquired and the way in which they are acquired.

– Due to this greater precision when creating objectives, it is also easier to assess whether they have been achieved.

Differences with Bloom’s taxonomy

Perhaps the most striking difference between Bloom’s taxonomy and Marzano’s is the type of learning that both authors believe can be done.

– On the one hand, Bloom stated that knowledge can be of three types: cognitive (what we have called information in Marzano’s taxonomy), psychomotor (the equivalent of psychomotor procedures), and affective (related to emotions and ways of acting). feel).

– On the contrary, Marzano and Kendall consider that emotions are not a separate knowledge system, but something that mediates the acquisition of all other types of knowledge.

Theoretical foundation

Besides this fundamental difference in the classification of knowledge, Marzano’s taxonomy is much more research-based than Bloom’s.

Due to criticism of the previous classification system by many theorists, Marzano and Kendall set out to improve the existing taxonomy with new knowledge generated by cognitive research.

As a result, the theoretical foundation of Marzano’s taxonomy is much stronger than that of its predecessor.

About Marzano and Kendall

Robert J Marzano

American educational researcher. He has published over 200 articles on education, cognition, educational leadership, or practical program development for teachers and educators. In turn, he is the author or co-author of more than 50 books.

He has conducted educational research and theory on the topics of standards-based assessment, cognition, high-performance teaching strategies, and school leadership, including the development of practical programs and tools for teachers and administrators in K-12 schools.

John S. Kendall

Graduated in Psychology, he worked as a professor at Gustavus Adolphus College for more than 30 years.


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