How These 3 Educational Domains Can Be Used to Determine Skills


In most cases, a high level of proficiency is an important area, and the behavior is performed with the least expenditure of energy and becomes routine, automatic, and spontaneous.

The psychomotor domain requires the display of coordination of a series of related acts by establishing the appropriate sequence and performing the acts accurately, with control as well as with speed and timing, and also requires the performance of some action independent of either written instructions or a visual model.

In this field of study, the learner observes and then imitates an action. It is expected that the individual can watch and then repeat an action.

Cognitive learning


We have to refresh our knowledge about the cognitive domain. For quite some time educational evaluation concerned itself with only the cognitive domain. It was thus preoccupied with matters of knowing and thinking. The 3Rs (Reading, writing, and arithmetic) formed the focus of the evaluation.

Affective learning

As we have done for the cognitive domain, it is important to make some points in the affective domain. It was only the mental activities demanding the use of the head that attracted attention. The psychomotor has to do with movement. The affective domain deals with matters of the heart.

Psychomotor learning

It is concerned with receiving, responding, valuing, organization, and value system. The Psychomotor domain is concerned with the manipulation of various parts of the body leading to the accomplishment of a task. We may refer to this as the use of the hand.

The change in the restriction of evaluation of the head involving the 3Rs to the 3Hs (Head, Hand, and Heart) is perhaps one of the best revolutions that have taken place worldwide in education.

We have earlier discussed the Cognitive domain, we shall in this chapter consider the Psychomotor domains with emphasis on their indices of measure and describe how they are measured.

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Psychomotor is a command with matters of manipulative nature that may be followed by creativity or originality or at least successful accomplishment of a task.

Vocational tasks

Such tasks are usually in areas of vocation like cooking, hairdressing, typewriting, carpentry, metal work, fine art, fashion designing, building, laboratory works, geometrical constructions, graphical work, modeling, cropping, engineering drawings, electrical wiring, electronic maintenance, and furniture making.

Abilities and skills

Closely associated with psychomotor are abilities and skills. Abilities are mostly acquired through learning and they grow with age reaching their peak in adolescence and stagnating in adulthood. Skill, on the other hand, is an indication of the individual’s level of proficiency in a given task.

Psychomotor abilities may be identified according to Fleishman (1969) dexterity, reaction time and gross body coordination have to do with noticeable body movement with high demand on strength. Inherent in the procession of psychomotor as revealed by individuals are abilities to:

  • carry out laboratory work with speed and accuracy
  • type fast and accurately
  • write neatly and legibly
  • play musical instruments to produce rhythm and melody
  • make dance steps match with music
  • identify and correct mechanical or electrical faults in a vehicle
  • operate mechanical or electronic engines skillfully
  • drive smoothly and without putting a strain on the car engine
  • develop new ways of carrying out a task effectively and with a reduction in time and cost of execution.

Psychomotor measurement

Measurement of the psychomotor domain is not as seemingly more developed than that of the affective domain. Its measurement makes use of Essay tests, Objective tests, Practical tests, and Rating Scales.

In grading practical work in vocational courses and the sciences, the assessment usually starts from the examination hall as the supervisor watches the way and manner the examinee sets up his experiment, handles the equipment, takes and records his readings, plots his graphs where necessary and dismantles the equipment at the end of the exercise.

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 Practical assessment

Assessment is not restricted to the recordings of values obtained and the analysis made from them. A combination of both assessments was used in determining his grade in the practical work.

Home Economics practical is graded in terms of the setup for the work, proficiency displayed in the course of the exercise, quality of production, and the display of work produced coupled with a brief report of how the work was carried out.

Psychomotor measures are faced with problems of validation. A production that is judged excellent by one assessor may be just fair to another.

Where candidates sit for a public examination and their assessor is their teacher or a teacher from a neighboring school, the grades awarded may not be so reliable.

In many cases, production work is of long duration and not a matter of hours and so the assessor may not be in a position to ascertain that it is the candidate that carried out the entire work.

Whatever instrument is to be used for measuring the psychomotor domain, such an instrument must have good coverage of the tasks involved in the training. Items must be within the level of expected attainment level of the learners.

The traits to be measured must be of relevance to job performance and a minimum standard set by experts must be used in determining the successor or failure of a candidate.


There are problems inherent in the instrument used, the user as well as the respondent which may often render measurement of affective attributes unreliable and invalid.

Psychomotor domain deals with measures of performance in the vocational and practical areas. Of great concern are the ability and skill demonstrated by finger dexterity, reaction time, and gross body coordination.

The measure of psychomotor domains may be affected by the type of instrument used, the integrity of the user as well as that of the assessee, and the facilities provided to the assessee.

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