Depth of Knowledge

What We Know Now


Depth of Knowl­edge (DoK) is a model that describes the cog­ni­tive rigor demanded by stan­dards, cur­ric­u­lar activ­i­ties and assess­ment tasks (Webb, 1997). The model is based upon the assump­tion that cur­ric­u­lar ele­ments may all be cat­e­go­rized based upon the cog­ni­tive demands required to pro­duce an accept­able response. Each group­ing of tasks reflects a dif­fer­ent level of cog­ni­tive expec­ta­tion, or depth of knowl­edge, required to com­plete the task. DoK is not about dif­fi­culty; it is about complexity.

DoK Level 1-​Recall and Repro­duc­tion
DoK Level 2-​Skills and Con­cepts
DoK Level 3-​Short-​term Strate­gic Think­ing
DoK Level 4-​Extended Thinking


Webb’s DoK frame­work will help edu­ca­tors increase the cog­ni­tive rigor of instruc­tional and assess­ment prac­tices in order to meet the increased cog­ni­tive expec­ta­tions of the Com­mon Core State Stan­dards and the Smarter Bal­anced Assessments.

Considerations or Implications:

Karin Hess, from the National Cen­ter for the Improve­ment of Edu­ca­tional Assess­ment (NCIEA), cre­ated a matrix to inte­grate Bloom’s “types of think­ing” with Webb’s “how deeply you need to under­stand a con­cept in order to inter­act with it.” Edu­ca­tors need to ana­lyze their prac­tices in rela­tion to where learn­ing activ­i­ties fall on the matrix, with the goal of hav­ing activ­i­ties and assess­ments in each of the boxes


DoK lev­els

Hess’s Cog­ni­tive Rigor Matrix based on Webb and Bloom’s frame­works

Depth of Knowl­edge with Karin Hess video -

Susie Prather,
Chris Van Hoof,
WASCD Board Members

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