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What is Depth of Knowledge?

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Melissa Whitehead

on 9 June 2015

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Transcript of What is Depth of Knowledge?

Let's Take a Look at the Pre-test
Depth of Knowledge

Degree of Rigor
Requires instruction that targets students’ abilities to infer, organize, imagine, and revise their understandings. It teaches students skills they need to adapt to any situation and become lifelong learners.

Quality NOT Quantity

Webb's DOK is


About using

The same as

DOK is a reference to the complexity of mental processing that must occur to answer a question, perform a task, or generate a product.
Adding is a mental process.
Knowing the rule for adding is the
intended outcome
that influences the DOK.
Once someone learns the “rule” of how to add, then 4 + 4=8 is DOK 1 and is also easy.
Adding 4,678,895 + 9,578,885 is still a DOK 1 but may be more “difficult.”

The degree of depth or complexity of knowledge reflected in the content standards and assessments.

"Measures the degree to which the knowledge elicited from students on assessments and performance indicators or through questioning is as complex as what students are expected to know and do as stated in the state standards."
What does Depth of Knowledge accomplish?
Ensures that the intent of the standard and the level of student demonstration required by that standard matches the assessment items and performance indicators.

How does Depth of Knowledge work?
DOK is broken into
4 levels
As the levels increase, students must demonstrate increasingly complex mental strategies.
Level One is the most basic level, essentially the “definition” stage.

Higher levels of DOK require that students solve problems in new and creative ways, and allow for multiple solutions to solve those problems.

Why Depth of Knowledge (DOK)?
Mechanism to ensure that the intent of the standard and the level of student demonstration required by that standard matches the assessment items and performance indicators.

that teachers are teaching to a level that will promote student achievement

Depth of Knowledge (DOK)

Components of Rigor
Assists students in fulfilling predetermined outcomes and competencies by challenging them with high expectations.

Essential components of rigor in the classroom:
Content acquisition
Critical thinking
Application of concepts
Long term retention

about the verb...
The Depth of Knowledge is
determined by the verb (Bloom’s Taxonomy), but by the
in which the verb is used and the depth of thinking required.

Verbs are not always used appropriately...
Words like
have to be considered in context.

“Explain to me where you live” does not raise the DOK of a simple rote response.

Even if the student has to use addresses or landmarks, the student is doing nothing more than
recalling and reciting

DOK is about what follows the verb...
What comes after the verb is more important than the verb itself.

“Analyze this sentence to decide if the commas have been used correctly” does not meet the criteria for high cognitive processing.

The student who has been taught the rule for using commas is merely using the rule.

Same Verb—Three Different DOK Levels
Explain what family of functions would best model a particular real-world situation.

Explain the difference between a linear and a quadratic function.

Explain how the “vertical line test is useful in determining whether or not a given graph is representing a function.

DOK is about
intended outcome
, not difficulty
DOK is
about difficulty...
Difficulty is a reference to how many students answer a question correctly.

“How many of you know the definition of

If all of you know the definition, this question is an easy question.

“How many of you know the definition of

If most of you do not know the definition, this question is a difficult question.

DOK is about
intended student learning outcome
determines the DOK level.

DOK 1:
requires students to use simple skills or abilities.
DOK 2:
includes the engagement of some mental processing beyond recalling.
DOK 3:
requires some higher level mental processing like reasoning, planning, and using evidence.
DOK 4:
requires complex reasoning, planning, developing, and thinking over an extended period of time

DOK Level 1: Recall and Reproduction
recall of information,
such as a fact, definition, term, or performance of a simple process or procedure

Example: following a simple, well-known procedure or formula

Skills/Concepts: DOK Level 2
Includes the engagement of some mental processing
beyond recalling or reproducing a response

Items require students to make some decisions as to how to approach the question or problem

Actions imply more than one
mental or cognitive process/step

of two or more concepts, finding similarities and differences, applying factual learning at the basic skill level. Main ideas – requires deeper knowledge than just the definition. Students must
“how” or “why” and often estimate or interpret to respond.

Strategic Thinking: Level 3
deep understanding
exhibited through planning, using evidence, and more demanding
cognitive reasoning

The cognitive demands are

and abstract

An assessment item that has more than one possible answer and requires students to
justify the response
would most likely be a Level 3

Students must reason or plan to find an acceptable solution to a problem.
More than one correct response or approach is possible.
Requires complex or abstract thinking, and application of knowledge or skill in a new and unique situation.

Extended Thinking: Level 4
high cognitive demand
and is very

Students are expected to make connections, relate ideas within the content or among content areas, and select or devise one approach among many alternatives on how the situation can be solved

Due to the complexity of cognitive demand, DOK 4 often requires an extended period of time

At this level, students typically
a problem,
a course of action,
that plan, and
make decisions
based on collected data. Usually involves more time than one class period.
Multiple solutions
are possible. Students often connect multiple content areas to come up with unique and creative solutions.

Answer Key

Blooms Taxonomy
Webb's Depth of Knowledge
DOK focuses on the item/standard/content to determine the level of rigor.
It is not about the student's ability.
The DOK is determined by the context of the assessment item or standard.
It is descriptive and not a classification tool.
Bloom's taxonomy is a classification tool used to determine the student's behavioral expectation or outcome.
It focuses on the student's ability.
The verb determines the level of Bloom's taxonomy.
-Dr. Norman L. Webb
Resources to
increase your Depth of Knowledge
about Webb's DOK.
DOK Overview Chart(Marilee Sprenger):
Student Friendly DOK Chart:
Depth Of Knowledge Levels
Survey Says......
Hess, Karen. (2009).Hess's Cognitive Rigor Matrix.
The Standards Company LLC. (2008a). “Study of the alignment of student assignments to the academic standards in the state of Nevada pursuant to Senate Bill 184, Chap. 420, Statutes of Nevada 2007.” Retrieved April 13, 2009, from Legislative Counsel Bureau, Nevada State Legislature, technical report,
The Standards Company LLC. (2008b). “Analysis of the enacted curriculum for the Oklahoma State Department of Education for the collection period February – March, 2008.” Unpublished report.
Cognitive Rigor: Blending the Strengths of Bloom's Taxonomy and Webb's Depth of Knowledge to Enhance Classroom-level Processes
Essentially, Depth of Knowledge is a scale of cognitive demand.
DOK requires looking at the assessment item/standard-
student work- in order to determine the level.
DOK is about the item/standard- not the student.
What is Depth of Knowledge?

-Dr. Norman Webb, senior research scientist at the National Institute for Science Education.
Take a minute to write your personal definition of “cognitive rigor” as it relates to instruction, learning, and/or assessment.
There are different models to describe cognitive rigor. Each addresses something different.

• Bloom's Taxonomy –What type of thinking (verbs) is needed to complete a task?

• Webb's Depth of Knowledge –How deeply do you have to understand the content to successfully interact with it? How complex is the content?
Cognitive Rigor Models
Today's Objectives
Learn about Norman Webb's Depth of Knowledge

How DOK will shift instruction

How Assessment studio will support the instructional shift through assessments.
Question Wait Time
Questioning Myths
Often struggling students are denied access to higher level questions because they still have difficulty with skills.

However, higher level thinking questions are sometimes easier for level 1 & 2 students to answer because open-ended questions have more entry points and require more “think time” by the rest of the class.
Starting changing your instruction through questioning techniques....
Require students to manipulate prior information
Why do you suppose…..?
What can you conclude from the evidence?

Ask students to state an idea or definition
in their own words.

Ask questions that require a solution to a problem.

Involve students in observing and describing an event or object
What do you notice? Tell me about this. What do you see?

Ask students to compare or contrast
Questions at
lower levels
are usually more appropriate for:
Evaluating students’ preparation and comprehension
Diagnosing students’ strengths and weaknesses
Reviewing and/or summarizing

Usually questions at
upper DOK levels
are appropriate for:
Encouraging students to think deeply and critically
Encouraging discussions
Stimulating students to seek information on their own
Questions for specific outcomes...
Common Core State Standards Follow Depth of Knowledge
Take out your cell phone

Text the answer CODE to 22333
Question 1:
Question 2:
1. DOK 2
2. DOK 3
3. DOK 2
4. DOK 1
5. DOK 1
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