The application of learning taxonomy in anatomy assessment in medical school

Siti Nurma Hanim Hadie


It is generally accepted that assessment is a single powerful tool that drives students’ learning. However, assessment of anatomy subject in medical curriculum is disputable as it focusses more on testing the low order thinking skills. In medical education context, it is of paramount importance to align the assessment with the curriculum (i.e., learning outcomes) and teaching methods as to enhance learning through a meaningful learning experience. Hence, the use of learning taxonomy should be emphasised in designing a proper and suitable assessment for anatomy subject. Among the most commonly used taxonomies in higher education, are the Bloom’s taxonomy, Miller’s pyramid, SOLO taxonomy, Krathwohl taxonomy of affective domain and Simpson’s psychomotor domain. However, being a core basic medical subject with high cognitive input, it is often difficult to achieve contextual learning in anatomy through application of these taxonomies. Therefore, with raising concern of lack in the evaluation of higher order thinking skills, affective and psychomotor domains, the anatomy assessment in modern medical curriculum have been improvised to address the aforementioned issues. The modern form of assessment in anatomy facilitates the contextual learning with beneficial attributes gained by students including better understanding of anatomy knowledge, synthesis of anatomical concept, appreciation of the clinical importance of anatomy, increases communication skills and increase in the confidence level.


Anatomy assessment; learning taxonomy; educational outcomes; constructive alignment.

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