FTCE & FELE Cognitive Complexity
For all subject area examinations the Bureau of Postsecondary Assessment utilizes a cognitive complexity taxonomic classification that is based on Norman Webb's Depth of Knowledge model. Please find a brief explanation of the three levels of cognitive complexity used to classify FTCE and FELE test items.
Low Complexity QuestionsLow complexity questions require examinees to recall, observe, or represent basic facts and previously learned concepts. Cognitive tasks that would fit within the low complexity level may include
- selecting the correct definition, principle, or statute;
- solving a one-step problem;
- recognizing component parts of a large system; or
- identifying specific theories, units of measurement, text, or mere facts.
Moderate Complexity QuestionsModerate complexity questions require examinees to move beyond simple recall and involve more thought and decision making about responses. Cognitive tasks that would fit within the moderate complexity level may include
- bringing together skills and knowledge from multiple domains;
- solving a problem with multiple steps;
- using informal methods of reasoning and problem-solving strategies;
- requiring responses that go beyond the habitual;
- analyzing a specific problem for the solution; or
- applying proven theories.
High Complexity QuestionsHigh complexity questions make heavy demands on examinee thinking. Cognitive tasks that would fit within the high complexity level may include
- explaining, generalizing, or making multiple connections;
- solving a problem that requires analysis and synthesis of information;
- engaging examinees in more abstract reasoning, planning, analysis, judgment, and creative thought;
- assessing a situation to determine the next step;
- evaluating student, classroom, or school data; or
- diagnosing student errors and omissions and selecting a correct methodological response.