Benjamin Bloom

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Benjamin Bloom
Benjamin Bloom photo.jpg
Benjamin Bloom
Benjamin Samuel Bloom

(1913-02-21)February 21, 1913
DiedSeptember 13, 1999(1999-09-13) (aged 86)
AwardsE. L. Thorndike Award (1973)
Academic background
Alma mater
Academic work
Sub-disciplineEducational psychology
InstitutionsUniversity of Chicago
Notable ideas

Benjamin Samuel Bloom (February 21, 1913 – September 13, 1999) was an American educational psychologist who made contributions to the classification of educational objectives and to the theory of mastery learning. He is particularly noted for leading educational psychologists to develop the comprehensive system of describing and assessing educational outcomes in the mid-1950s.[1] He has influenced the practices and philosophies of educators around the world from the latter part of the twentieth century.

Early life and education[edit]

Bloom was born in Lansford, Pennsylvania to an immigrant family. His parents were Jewish, who fled a climate of discrimination in Russia.[2] Bloom's father supported the family as a tailor and his ambition of becoming a teacher was his way of climbing the social status.[2]

He studied at Pennsylvania State College and was awarded his bachelor's and master's degree by 1935.[1] He wanted to become a protege to Ralph Tyler, a progressive educator, so he continued his education under him at the University of Chicago. Bloom worked for Tyler in the so-called Eight-Year Study, an education research project where schools assessed students without using traditional grading system.[1]

Bloom obtained his doctoral degree in 1942 and began working as a staff of the University of Chicago Board of Examiners.


In 1956, Bloom edited the first volume of Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals, which outlined a classification of learning objectives that has come to be known as Bloom's taxonomy. It was one of the first systems that categorized cognitive functioning and gave structure to the mental processes of gifted students.[3] It remains a foundational and essential element within the educational community as evidenced in the 1981 survey "Significant Writings That Have Influenced the Curriculum: 1906–81" by Harold G. Shane and the 1994 yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education. Bloom's 2 Sigma Problem is also named after him.

Aside from his work on education objectives and outcomes, he also directed a research team which conducted a major investigation into the development of exceptional talent whose results are relevant to the question of eminence, exceptional achievement, and greatness.[4]


  1. ^ a b c Kovalchick, Ann; Dawson, Kara (2004). Education and Technology: A-I. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 66. ISBN 1576073513.
  2. ^ a b Bresler, Liora; Cooper, David; Palmer, Joy (2002). Fifty Modern Thinkers on Education: From Piaget to the Present Day. Oxon: Routledge. p. 86. ISBN 041522408X.
  3. ^ Karnes, Frances; Nugent, Stephanie (2004). Profiles of Influence in Gifted Education: Historical Perspectives and Future Directions. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press Inc. p. 18. ISBN 1882664973.
  4. ^ Bloom, B. S., ed. (1985). Developing Talent in Young People. New York: Ballantine Books.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bloom, Benjamin S. (1980). All Our Children Learning. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Bloom, Benjamin S. Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (1956). Published by Allyn and Bacon, Boston, MA. Copyright (c) 1984 by Pearson Education.
  • Bloom, B. S. (ed). (1985). Developing Talent in Young People. New York: Ballantine Books.
  • Eisner, Eliot W. "Benjamin Bloom: 1913-1999." Prospects, the quarterly review of comparative education (Paris, UNESCO: International Bureau of Education), vol. XXX, no. 3, September 2000. Retrieved from on April 10, 2009.
  • Torsten Husén, Benjamin S. Bloom, in: Joy A. Palmer (ed), Fifty Modern Thinkers on Education: From Piaget to the Present Day, London - New York: Routledge, 2001, pp. 86–90.

External links[edit]

Professional and academic associations
Preceded by
Lee Cronbach
President of the American
Educational Research Association

Succeeded by
Julian Stanley