What Teachers Need to Know about Depth of Knowledge (DOK) Framework

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August 14, 2014
 Depth of Knowledge is a conceptual framework and a vocabulary reference developed by Webb (1977) to help with analyzing the cognitive demands and expectations students are to meet when engaged in Common Core learning. DOK categorizes the curricular activities into four major groups with each one of them corresponding to a particular cognitive level it addresses.

DOK looks into the kind of thinking and cognitive rigour required for students to complete a given task. There are four major DOK levels:
  • DOK1: elicits recall and reproduction
  • DOK2: focuses on basic application of skills and concepts and simple reasoning
  • DOK3: expects strategic thinking and complex reasoning
  • DOK4: requires extended thinking

Rigorous instructional materials should include a mixture of tasks from across DOK levels. Watch the video below to see an example of how DOK levels are represented in a social studies task.

Here is a great Guide available for free download in PDF format that will help you better understand Webb's Depth of Knowledge.

I am also sharing with you this excellent article by John Walkup that discusses some of the fallacies included in those DOK charts you see online.