Depth of Knowledge Resources

Many educators are familiar with Bloom’s Taxonomy as a way to guide curriculum development and critical thinking. Subsequently, one of the professional development Partners working with the Citywide Common Core Pilot Programs has introduced Norman Webb’s work on Depth of Knowledge (DOK). Webb’s work grew out of research on studying different state assessments and their alignment with their state standards. Psychometricians and test developers have been using DOK as a way to design and evaluate different assessment tasks, but DOK has not received much attention by instructional specialists. However, it is very relevant in defining what is meant by "more rigorous tasks" required by the CCSS.

Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK) provides a vocabulary and a frame of reference when thinking about our students and how they engage with the content, offering a common language to understand "rigor," or cognitive demand, in assessments, as well as curricular units, lessons, and tasks.

Webb developed four DOK levels that grow in cognitive complexity and can help teachers better align academic tasks to the career and college readiness trajectory. Webb’s four DOK levels grow in cognitive complexity and provide educators a lens on creating more cognitively engaging and challenging tasks. Educators can begin to consider these DOK levels as they revise, revisit, “upgrade” and create curriculum maps.