Participants Analyze DOK to Increase Instructional Rigor
At the heart of twenty-first century teaching and learning is the need to increase the rigor in all classrooms for all students. With its emphasis on thought processes — the “how” beyond the “what” rooted in Benjamin Bloom’s taxonomy — Norman Webb's Depth of Knowledge (DOK) paradigm facilitates development of local curricula and assessment regimes that promote classroom discourse aligned to the higher levels of cognitive demand reflected in the PA Core Standards.
While Bloom's Taxonomy relies on the verb, Webb's DOK extends beyond the verb to what follows. “Create,” for example, occupies a high rung on Bloom’s Taxonomy. However, asking students to “create” a model of the human eye based on a textbook model requires little independent thinking and thus little or no transfer of knowledge. DOK challenges us to dig deeper.
In this session, OHS consultants engage teachers in utilizing the DOK paradigm to analyze the cognitive demand and complexity — the “brain sweat” — in instructional activities and assessment tasks. They also discuss Webb’s criteria for such an analysis, leading to a working, results-oriented reassessment of local curricular alignment with the PA Core Standards and a re-evaluation of the formative assessments currently in place.
Workshop participants also explore Karin Hess’s Cognitive Rigor Matrix, which applies Webb’s DOK levels — Recall and Reproduction, Skills and Concepts, Strategic Thinking and Reasoning, and Extended Thinking — to Bloom’s Cognitive Process Dimensions, with an emphasis on its use by classroom teachers and districts conducting alignment studies. In this way, participants are brought to understand the implications for DOK levels for assessment items, performance tasks, inquiry questions, eligible content, and standards. Finally, participants will be encouraged to lay plans for using Webb’s DOK as a rubric for constructing new quizzes and exams, developing discussion questions, and writing student learning outcomes tied to the PA Core Standards.