Components of Objectives
Instructional objectives written using the
Mager model consist of three components:
the behavior, the conditions, and the
criteria for success. Combined, they
provide a clear statement of what the
learner is expected to know or do, in what
situation the student is expected to
perform, and what constitutes success for
the student. These components are
generally defined as follows:
What the learner is expected to know or
do after completing instruction in the skill,
strategy, or subject matter being learned.
Behaviors must be observable and
The circumstances under which the
learner is expected to accomplish the
behavior. Conditions include materials,
limitations, and contexts.
The level of proficiency the learner must
achieve to be considered competent.
Criteria can be stated in terms of
accuracy, speed, or quality.
Given a worksheet with 25 problems, compute
two-column addition requiring regrouping with
Given a labeled diagram of the human digestive
system, explain in writing the function of
identified organs with 80% accuracy.
After reading James and the Giant Peach,
create a story map describing the sequence of
events that meets at least a Level 4 on a scoring
The behavior defined in an instructional
objective describes the performance
required of the learner. This performance
must be observable and measurable. It
must be visible or audible or must produce
a tangible product that can be assessed.
To insure that instructional objectives
focus on observable, measurable
behaviors an emphasis is placed on
writing statements that contain strong
"action" verbs. These are verbs such as
"recite," "summarize," "construct,"
"dissect," "combine" or "critique." Many
useful lists of verbs for writing objectives
have been compiled
The behavior statement may also include
a phrase describing a tangible product or
event that results from completing the
Action Verb Product
Write an essay
Present conclusions orally and
Sing a ballad
Compose a written response
Compute long division problems
Create a graphic
Conditions define any circumstances that
will have significant impact on the learners’
ability to perform the behavior. They
Materials: the resources that the learner
will be able to use while performing the
behavior e.g. tools, books, pens, paper,
Limitations: the resources that the learner
will not be able to use while performing
e.g. notes, reference books
Context: the situation or the scenario
under which the behavior will be
demonstrated e.g. before a live audience
The final step in writing instructional
objectives is to establish the criteria for
success. At what level must learners
perform to be considered proficient?
Criteria can be judged by using one of
three categories of measure: accuracy,
speed, or quality.
Accuracy: a statement of required
precision or the minimum acceptable
percentage of correct responses
Speed: a statement of required duration or
the maximum time that can be spent
completing the performance
Quality: a description of the characteristics
comprising a successful performance.
With 90% accuracy
Within .1 centimeter
With no more than 3 errors
With at least 4 out of 5 correct
In less than two minutes
For at least sixty seconds
In less than one month
Level four on a district developed rubric
That include a statement of behavior,
condition, and criteria for each of six levels
of Bloom's taxonomy
Though it may seem grammatically
awkward, the statement of Criterion is
typically placed at the end of the
instructional objective in the Mager model.
This results in the following structure:
Condition – Behavior – Criterion.
Condition Behavior Criterion
Given a worksheet
addition requiring with 95% accuracy
with 25 problems,
Given a labeled
explain in writing the
diagram of the
function of identified with 80% accuracy
that meets at least a
create a story map
After reading James Level 4 on a teacher
and the Giant Peach, developed scoring
sequence of events
Writing Objectives for the Cognitive Domain
In the mid-1950’s, Benjamin Bloom and a team
of educational psychologists developed a
classification system for educational objectives.
The cognitive domain of this taxonomy
encompasses intellectual skills ranging from the
simple recall of information to choosing among
alternatives in problem-solving, and evaluating
ideas or actions.
Knowledge – remembering
Comprehension – grasping the
meaning of material/information.
Application – using the
material/information some way.
Analysis – comparing and contrasting
categories of material/information.
Synthesis – creating new material or
Evaluation – assessing or judging the
value of new material/information/ideas;
making value judgments.
It might be useful to think of the first three
levels as having a type of predictable or
Analysis as having either a predictable or
non-predictable response, and the last two
levels as having no predictable or "right"
Intellectual tasks at the Knowledge, Comprehension, and
Application level are generally considered less cognitively
demanding than tasks at the levels of Analysis, Synthesis, and
Intellectual activities at the Knowledge level require that the learner
to simple recall or recognize specific information.
Comprehension requires the learner to grasp information as shown
through summarization, interpretation, or translation of material or
prediction based upon new knowledge.
Application requires the use of the information in new situations.
While proficiency with these lower level functions is necessary, it is
important not to focus on them to the exclusion of higher-level
Application is using the material in some new way
The student selects, transfers, and uses facts, rules, procedures,
concepts, or theories in new situations.
Select the term that best describes an idea or event
Write a paragraph using a given set of terms.
Apply the steps of a process in a new context.
Typical Tasks"Action Verbs“
Apply concepts and principle to new situations
Apply laws and theories to practical situations
Solve mathematical problems
Construct charts and graphs
Demonstrate use of a method or procedureapply, build, change,
choose, classify, collect, construct, demonstrate, discover,
dramatize, interpret, manipulate, make, model, modify, operate,
paint, play, perform, predict, prepare, produce, report, show,
sketch, solve, use
Analysis, Synthesis, Evaluation
The higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy, Analysis,
Synthesis, and Evaluation, require critical thinking,
creative thinking, and problem solving from the learner.
These are commonly termed "higher level thinking
skills." Instructional objectives written for these levels of
the taxonomy typically require the learner confront new
problems or situations.
They may also require the learner to apply a sequence of
strategies or skills such as identifying and analyzing a
problem, applying past learning, gathering new
information, organizing and comparing data, analyzing
elements, judging alternatives, and summarizing
conclusions or selecting a course of action.
Analysis – comparing and contrasting new
categories of material
Student distinguishes, classifies, or relates the
assumptions, hypotheses, evidence, or structure
of a statement or question.
Infer the meaning of a term from context
Infer the connotations of a term
Compare or contrast two processes
Categorize the steps of a process
Typical Tasks"Action Verbs"
Recognize unstated assumptions
Recognize fallacies in reasoning
Distinguish between fact and inference
Analyze the organizational structure of a
Analyze the composition of a creation,
analyze, categorize, classify, compare,
construct, contrast, debate, defend, diagram,
differentiate, discriminate, dissect, distinguish,
examine, infer, investigate, point out, research,
select, separate, sort, subdivide, survey, take
Synthesis – creating new material
The student originates, integrates, and
combines ideas into a product, plan or
proposal that is new to him or her.
Generate terms to describe elements or
Generate terms to define agreements
Generate terms to define categories
Modify an existing process
Typical Tasks "Action Verbs“
Write a well organized theme
Give a well organized presentation
Write a short story
Propose a plan for an experiment
Formulate a new organization for
classifying objects, events, or ideas
Making a piece of art
Composing a piece of music
create, combine, compile, compose, construct,
design, develop, devise, draw, formulate,
modify, generate, hypothesize, invent, organize,
originate, plan, produce, rearrange, reorganize,
revise, revise, role-play
Evaluation – assessing the value of new material
The student appraises, assesses, or
critiques on a basis of specific standards and
Evaluate the appropriate use of a term
Criticize the use of a term
Justify the use of a term
Critique the effectiveness of a process
Evaluate the significance of a process
Typical Tasks"Action Verbs“
Evaluate the logic of written material
Evaluate the adequacy with which
conclusions are supported
Evaluate the value of a creative work
using personal criteria or accepted
Evaluate the ethical implications of
actions or events appraise, assess,
conclude, criticize, critique, judge, justify,