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Trans-Symbolic Comprehension: A Higher Order of Thinking



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Running Head TRANS SYMBOLIC COMPREHENSION Trans Symbolic Comprehension A Higher Order of Thinking Sandra M Loughlin Disciplined Reading and Learning Research Laboratory University of Maryland College Park TRANS SYMBOLIC COMPREHENSION 1 Trans Symbolic Comprehension A Higher Order of Thinking In the educational and psychological literature the term comprehension has multiple meanings and connotations When considered in light of popular and influential taxonomies of thinking e g Anderson Krathwohl 2001 Bloom et al 1956 comprehension is portrayed as simplistic and certain For instance in Taxonomy of Educational Objectives Handbook I Cognitive Domain Bloom et al 1956 commonly referred to as Bloom s Taxonomy comprehension is categorized as a lower order cognitive activity second only to knowledge acquisition or mere rote learning or verbalization Bloom Hastings Madaus 1971 p 149 This description connotes comprehension or understanding as minimally abstract simple and easy Moreover it suggests that comprehension is separate from but a necessary precursor to higher levels of cognitive activity represented in the taxonomy namely application analysis synthesis and evaluation However the reading and understanding literatures paints a different picture To those steeped in its examination comprehension or understanding most notably of text is a far more complex and multifaceted enterprise than suggested by Bloom and colleagues Duke Carlisle 2011 Keene 2008 Theories and models of reading imply that understanding text is neither simple nor certain requiring the orchestration of processes associated with higher orders of the Bloom taxonomy including evaluating the author s point of view inferring relations not explicitly stated in the text and elaborating Pressley Afflerbach 1995 Likewise decades of research on teaching and learning for understanding have demonstrated the complexity of these meaningful learning endeavors Ritchhardt Morrison Church in press In light of these bodies



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