Unlike competencies, skills are traits that are visible and can be assessed with Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives-Cognitive Domains. Bloom’s Taxonomy is a six-level taxonomy that measures cognitive abilities:
It is based on observable and verifiable events as they relate to each of the skills. The following sections define each of the six levels.
Level 1.0 Knowledge (I can define it)
Knowledge, as defined in this level of Bloom’s Taxonomy, involves remembering or recalling ideas, materials, or phenomena. For measurement purposes, the recall situations involve little more than bringing to mind the appropriate material. Although altering the material may be required, this relatively minor part of the task.
You can think of the mind as a file system and knowledge as the information stored in that file. The purpose of knowledge test situation is for the students to identify task in the problem or task the appropriate signals, cues and clues that will most effectively retrieve whatever knowledge is filed and stored. Knowledge does not mean that the student can actually perform or use the knowledge in a practical manner; the student only needs to be able to retrieve it.
Level 2.0 Comprehension (I can explain how it works)
Comprehension refers to those refers to those objectives, behaviors, or responses that represent an understanding of the literal message contained in a communication. In order to understand communication, the student can change the communication in his or her mind or in his or her overt responses to a form that is more meaningful. There also can be responses, which represent simple extensions beyond what is given in the communication itself. In other words, student responds in his or her own words with an explanation of the communication that displays an understanding of the message that was sent.
Level 3.0 Application (I have experience using it in simple situation)
While the first two skill levels are knowledge-based, the application level and the next three are experience-based. The skill level involves using abstractions and concrete situations. The abstractions can be in the form of general ideas, rules of procedures, or generalized methods. The abstractions also can be technical principles, ideas, and theories, which must be remembered and applied.
If the student uses an abstraction correctly, given an appropriate situation in which no mode of solution is specified, he or she has demonstrated application. The ability to apply generalizations and conclusions to real-life problems and the ability to apply science principles, postulates, theorems, or other abstractions to new situations demonstrates understanding at the application level.
Level 4.0 Analysis (I have extensive experience using it in complex situations)
Analysis is the breakdown of a communication into its constituent elements or parts so that the relative hierarchy of ideas is made clear and/or the relations between the ideas expressed are made explicit. The analyses are intended to clarify the communication, to indicate how the communication is organized and the way in which it manages to convey its effects, as well as its basis and arrangement. Analysis deals with both the content and forms of material.
Level 5.0 Synthesis (I can adapt is to other uses)
Synthesis tests the student’s ability to put together elements and parts to from a whole. This involves working with pieces, parts, elements, and so on, and arranging and combining them in such a way as to constitute a pattern or structure not clearly there before.
Level 6.0 Evaluation (I am recognized as an expert by my peers)
The evaluation level tests the student’s judgement about the value of material and methods for given purposes. Quantitative and qualitative judgements about the extent to which material and methods satisfy criteria and use of a standard appraisal are demonstrations of understanding at the evaluation level. The criteria may be those determined by the student or those that are given to him or her.
Source: Effective Project Management, Second Edition by Robert K. Wysocki, Robert Beck Jr, and David B. Crane.