Using a Knowledge Survey In Moodle

What is a knowledge survey

“A standard Knowledge Surveys consists of many questions that cover the entire content of a course. Questions cover all levels of Bloom’s scale of thinking. (From low-level to high-level cognition, the scale goes from knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, to synthesis.)”

Knowledge surveys maybe formative (at the start of a course) or summative (at the end of the course).

Why use knowledge Surveys?

They help students learn, help faculty improve their classrooms, and aid departments and programs as they explore new curricula or pedagogies. (Wirth and Perkins).

In the power point presentation given by Perkins and Wirth they state the following reasons for supporting use of knowledge surveys

  • Knowledge surveys are indispensable tools for instructors and for students.
  • They aid instructors as they design courses.
  • Allow for mid course corrections
  • The surveys provide students with full disclosure of the course objectives and serve as study guides.
  • Help students develop self-assessment skills
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of alternative pedagogies.

How do you use a Knowledge Survey?

Students at the start of the course or topic are given a series of question up to 200 in some cases; the students do not answer the question, but give a score of how confident they would be at answering the question. This provides a baseline information about their base knowledge preparation needs.

How do you create one.

Generally a tutor would refer to a bank of exam papers going back over several years. To ensure all parts of the topic/subject are covered a range of questions are sorted in to topics. To ensure all levels of thinking are assessed, the tutor scores the question from one to six based on Blooms Taxonomy.

A useful resource/website divides Blooms Taxonomy in to tabular form with exemplars of terminology and use.

Blooms Taxonomy

Higher Order Thinking
  • Creatingdesigning, constructing, planning, producing, inventing, devising, making
  • EvaluatingChecking, hypothesising, critiquing, Experimenting, judging, testing, Detecting, Monitoring
  • AnalysingComparing, organising, deconstructing, Attributing, outlining, finding, structuring, integrating
  • ApplyingImplementing, carrying out, using, executing
  • UnderstandingInterpreting, Summarising, inferring, paraphrasing, classifying, comparing, explaining, exemplifying
  • RememberingRecognising, listing, describing, identifying, retrieving, naming, locating, finding
Lower Order Thinking


Sample Knowledge Survey Questions.

Blooms Taxonomy Level
  Blooms Taxonomy Level 1
What is the definition of a flood plain?
Blooms Taxonomy Level 2
Outline the basic characteristics of a meandering channel.
  Blooms Taxonomy Level 3
Explain why the outer bend of a meander has faster stream flow.
Blooms Taxonomy Level 4
Compare the river regime of a temperate climate with that of an Alpine regime.
Blooms Taxonomy Level 5
Judge the success of a river management scheme using an example from the British Isles.
Blooms Taxonomy Level 6
Design and flood management scheme for your local river system assuming a 1 in 100 year flood event

Using Moodle Feedback with a Knowledge Survey

The Feedback module can be downloaded from

  To find out how to create the feedback survey full detail are here……


Understanding What Our Geoscience Students Are Learning: Observing and Assessing

Applying Blooms Taxonomy

Moodle Documents


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