Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

SOLO

Within science programs, the SOLO taxonomy is most often used. Over the last 20 years, the Australian learning theorist J. Biggs has developed a taxonomy. Not like Bloom about teaching targets, but about students' understanding of a given subject or assignment. Its full name is Structure of Observed Learning Outcome. It is a system where the outcome of a learning process can be monitored.

Here is an overview of the SOLO taxonomy: 

As shown in the table, the taxonomy is built over 5 steps in which all previous steps are a prerequisite for each new step. The reasoning behind this is that knowledge develops to higher and higher levels, where the lower levels form the basis of the higher levels. The first three steps reflect superficial learning where students' knowledge rests on simple and concrete issues and explanations and basic knowledge. In the last two steps, the student acquires independent knowledge, creates meaningful contexts, works at a high level of abstraction, and is able to apply his/her knowledge to general instances and not only to specific topics at hand. 

 

SOLO level

Description

Representative verbs

Comparison with Bloom's taxonomy

1

Pre-structural

(no contribution)

(Use of irrelevant information or answers that do not make sense)

(not applied)

 

2

Uni-structural

The student can identify, rewrite, and apply simple procedures...

... but only masters only single parts, not context

reproduce

identify

define

calculate

collect data

register

1 Knowledge and...

2 Understanding:

 

Basic insight into and understanding of core substance and calculation formulas

 

 

3. Application:

 

 

Insight into the design of specific systems/design dimensioning,

 

 

 

 

4. Analysis,

5. Synthesis and

6. Rating

 

 

Manage problem areas and data from the real life, analyse and evaluate possible solutions, function etc.

3

Multi-structural

The student can list, describe, combine, and master more aspects ...

... but do not integrate them in their entirety

describe

formulate

combine

verify

process

apply

4

Relational

The student can compare, explain reason, analyse, relate, apply, as well as master and integrate multiple aspects of the whole

 

compare

synthesize

modeling

analyze

deduce

optimize

plan

5

Extended abstract

The student can theorize, generalise, form hypotheses and perspectives, as well as move from the specific to the abstract

discuss

generalise

estimate

formulate hypotheses

theorise

interpret

assess

predict