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Teaching with Depth An Understanding of Webb’s Depth of Knowledge

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1 Teaching with Depth An Understanding of Webb’s Depth of Knowledge

2 “He who learns but does not think, is lost.
He who thinks, but does not learn is in great danger.” Confucious

3 Factors that Correlate to Student Achievement Rates
Parent Education Economics (poverty - affluence) Language Acquisition Ethnicity Many Factors Contribute to the Achievement Gap The achievement gap stems from both home- and school-based factors. It exists before students ever cross the school threshold, and this disadvantage can greatly affect their educational progress and success. Students living in poverty tend to be less successful in school The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) conducted a national longitudinal study of children entering kindergarten in It found that students whose mothers had not graduated from high school, whose families received public assistance or were headed by single parents, and/or whose parents’ primary language was not English were disproportionately represented among low performers. All of these factors correlate highly with poverty. Although poverty does not cause low achievement, it does set the conditions for it. Students living in poverty are more likely to be exposed to factors known to affect achievement, such as: Lack of access to proper nutrition, health care, and decent housing; and Exposure to substance abuse and high-crime communities. Risk factors have a synergistic effect on school performance—children with one risk factor typically do not fare as well as those with none. Children with two or more of these factors generally lag far behind those with only one. Not to be overlooked are social factors and processes that play an enormous role in determining a child’s later learning and future academic success. High family stress levels, maternal depression, little interaction with the child, and family illiteracy all have a negative impact on a child’s developing capacity to learn. Because African Americans and Latinos in California represent disproportionate numbers of children living in poverty, they are also more likely to begin school at a disadvantage. Cultural factors can also affect student performance The cultural background of both students and educators can also play a role in student achievement. First, it is well documented that some educators have lower academic expectations for students of color. This has been a topic of much discussion over the past decades, and attempting to change teachers’ attitudes and practices is at the heart of the standards-based reform movement. Beyond this complex and pervasive problem is another issue—how the values and expectations of students’ backgrounds and communities influence their attitudes about schooling and academic performance. The extent to which culture affects attitude and achievement is a politically sensitive and controversial subject. The variables most consistently correlated with low student achievement are poverty and low parent education level. Yet even among students coming from poor families, some cultural groups generally outperform others in school. And among wealthier students, some groups of students—for example, middle-class African American males—consistently lag behind their white classmates. Researchers differ regarding the causes of these gaps. Temple University professor Laurence Steinberg has found that although Asian students associate negative life consequences with poor school performance, African American and Hispanic students do not. University of California-Berkeley professor John Ogbu argues that community-based “folk theories” contribute to self-defeating behaviors. (An example of a folk theory would be that because of the history of discrimination against African Americans, even those who work hard will never reap the rewards that whites do.) Others theorize that the efforts of even the most supportive parents and communities can be undermined by teens’ need for peer approval. Schools can play a role in narrowing the gap A driving force in education reform for decades has been optimism that schools can help students overcome the disadvantages they bring with them into the classroom. For more than 40 years, researchers have conducted extensive investigations to determine which school factors influence student achievement. However, results of this research point to complex interactions among multiple factors, indicating that the solutions are neither simple nor straightforward. The state and federal movement toward a standards-based approach to school improvement begins with the assumption that all students can meet high academic expectations. Based on that assumption, a fundamental strategy has been to shed light on the achievement gaps that exist between groups of students. Evaluating what combination of educational strategies, resources, capacity-building, and incentives can contribute to better academic performance among low-performing students continues to be a focus for educators and researchers. Meanwhile, policymakers have crafted accountability systems that put increased pressure on the schools and school districts that are currently falling short in helping all their students meet rigorous new achievement goals. National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

4 Efforts to Improve Student Learning
Class Size Reduction Whole School Reform Re-vamp Class time (varied bell schedules, year-round schools, block schedules) Innovative Curriculum Traditional Curriculum (Back to Basics) Remediation Programs (Tracking, two-year algebra, etc.) Standards Based Education (Pacing Guides, Benchmark Test, Data Driven, etc.) High-stakes Accountability (Rewards, Sanctions, Differentiated Accountabilty) Choice (charter schools, magnet schools, etc.) Centralize Leadership and Policies (state or national) Professional Learning Communities

5 So...what is the most significant factor in student learning?
...the teacher

6 Teachers are the Key “Teachers must be the primary driving force behind change. They are best positioned to understand the problems that students face and to generate possible solutions.” James Stigler and James Hiebert, The Teaching Gap

7 Quality Instruction Makes A Difference
“Good teaching can make a significant difference in student achievement, equal to one effect size (a standard deviation), which is also equivalent to the affect that demographic classifications can have on achievement.” Paraphrase Dr. Heather Hill, University of Michigan

8 Differences in Instruction
“Our research indicates that there is a 15% variability difference in student achievement between teachers within the same schools.” Deborah Loewenberg Ball, Dean of Education, University of Michigan

9 “What Matters Very Much is
Which Classroom?” “If a student is in one of the most effective classrooms he or she will learn in 6 months what those in an average classroom will take a year to learn. And if a student is in one of the least effective classrooms in that school, the same amount of learning take 2 years.”

10 Research has indicated that
Research has indicated that... “teacher quality trumps virtually all other influences on student achievement.” (e.g., Darling-Hammond, 1999; Hamre and Pianta, 2005; Hanushek, Kain, O'Brien and Rivken, 2005; Wright, Horn and Sanders, 1997)

11 Making Sense & Worthwhile Tasks
“What are our Kids really being asked to do?” “How are we keeping up with Cognitive Demand (man)?”

12 Cognitive Demand The kind and level of thinking required of students to successfully engage with and solve a task Ways in which students interact with content

13 Depth of Knowledge (DOK)
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requires assessments to “measure the depth and breadth of the state academic content standards for a given grade level”. (U.S. Department of Education, 2003, p. 12)

14 Why Depth of Knowledge? Focuses on complexity of content standards in order to successfully complete an assessment or task. The outcome (product) is the focus of the depth of understanding.

15 Why Use a Depth of Knowledge?
Used to determine the level of the expected outcomes of the Sunshine State Standards and benchmarks Determines the complexity of FCAT items (success with items leads to AYP) It is important to understand that the DOK classification scheme was adopted because it does not require an inference about the skill knowledge, and background of the student, but is based solely on what is being asked cognitively. The Depth of Knowledge classification scheme classifies assessment items or tasks, not students or student work. This classification scheme was developed originally for assessment items. The intention for use was to align learning objectives with assessments. The Depths of knowledge were developed by Norman L. Webb at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research and the National Institute for Science Education. Florida’s Next Generation Standards were rated for depth of knowledge to help align learning goals with instruction and assessment.

16 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 (required under NCLB) To ensure that teachers are teaching to a level that will promote student achievement

17 DOK is NOT... the same as difficulty about using “verbs”
a taxonomy (Bloom’s) the same as difficulty about using “verbs”

18 It’s NOT about the verb... The Depth of Knowledge is NOT determined by the verb (Bloom’s Taxonomy), but by the context in which the verb is used and the depth of thinking required.

19 Verbs are not always used appropriately...
Words like explain or analyze 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.

20 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.

21 Same Verb—Three Different DOK Levels
DOK 1- Describe three characteristics of metamorphic rocks. (Requires simple recall) DOK 2- Describe the difference between metamorphic and igneous rocks. (Requires cognitive processing to determine the differences in the two rock types) DOK 3- Describe a model that you might use to represent the relationships that exist within the rock cycle. (Requires deep understanding of rock cycle and a determination of how best to represent it) Same Verb—Three Different DOK Levels

22 DOK is about intended outcome, not difficulty
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, is DOK 1 and is also easy. Adding 4,678, ,578,885 is still a DOK 1 but may be more “difficult.”

23 DOK is not about difficulty...
Difficulty is a reference to how many students answer a question correctly. “How many of you know the definition of exaggerate?” DOK 1 – recall If all of you know the definition, this question is an easy question. “How many of you know the definition of prescient?” If most of you do not know the definition, this question is a difficult question.

24 DOK is about complexity
The intended student learning outcome determines the DOK level. Every objective in the science and mathematics frameworks has been assigned a DOK level. Instruction and classroom assessments must reflect the DOK level of the objective or intended learning outcome.

25 Quick Quiz 1) Give an example of a statement that uses a verb that “sounds” like a high DOK but is used inappropriately. 2) Fill in the blanks: What _____ the verb is more _____ than the verb itself when deciding the DOK level. 3) What is the difference between difficulty and complexity? 4) What really determines the DOK level?

26 Quick Quiz Answers 1) Give an example of a statement that uses a verb that “sounds” like a high DOK but is used inappropriately. answers vary 2) Fill in the blanks: What follows the verb is more important than the verb itself when deciding the DOK level. 3) What is the difference between difficulty and complexity? answers vary, but do not rely on the verb 4) What really determines the DOK level? the intended learning outcomes

27 What is Depth of Knowledge (DOK)?
A scale of cognitive demand (thinking) to align standards with assessments Based on the research of Norman Webb, University of Wisconsin Center for Education Research and the National Institute for Science Education Defines the “ceiling” or highest DOK level for each Core Content standard for the state assessment Guides item development for state assessments

28 "To be, or not to be: that is the question"
Webb’s Four Levels of Cognitive Complexity Level 1: Recall and Reproduction Level 2: Skills & Concepts Level 3: Strategic Thinking Level 4: Extended Thinking "To be, or not to be: that is the question"

29 DOK Level 1: Recall and Reproduction
Requires recall of information, such as a fact, definition, term, or performance of a simple process or procedure Answering a Level 1 item can involve following a simple, well-known procedure or formula

30 Recall and Reproduction DOK Level 1 Examples:
List animals that survive by eating other animals Locate or recall facts found in text Describe physical features of places Determine the perimeter or area of rectangles given a drawing or labels Identify elements of music using music terminology Identify basic rules for participating in simple games and activities

31 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

32 Skills/Concepts: DOK 2 Examples
Compare desert and tropical environments Identify and summarize the major events, problems, solutions, conflicts in literary text Explain the cause-effect of historical events Predict a logical outcome based on information in a reading selection Explain how good work habits are important at home, school, and on the job Classify plane and three dimensional figures Describe various styles of music

33 Strategic Thinking: Level 3
Requires deep understanding exhibited through planning, using evidence, and more demanding cognitive reasoning The cognitive demands are complex 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

34 DOK Level 3: Strategic Thinking Examples:
Compare consumer actions and analyze how these actions impact the environment Analyze or evaluate the effectiveness of literary elements (e.g., characterization, setting, point of view, conflict and resolution, plot structures) Solve a multiple-step problem and provide support with a mathematical explanation that justifies the answer

35 DOK Level 3 Examples Develop a scientific model for a complex idea
Propose and evaluate solutions for an economic problem Explain, generalize or connect ideas, using supporting evidence from a text or source Create a dance that represents the characteristics of a culture

36 Extended Thinking: Level 4
Requires high cognitive demand and is very complex 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

37 Extended Thinking: DOK 4 Examples
Gather, analyze, organize, and interpret information from multiple (print and non print) sources to draft a reasoned report Analyzing author’s craft (e.g., style, bias, literary techniques, point of view) Create an exercise plan applying the “FITT (Frequency, Intensity, Time, Type) Principle”

38 “Extending the length of an activity alone does not necessarily create rigor!”
Many on-demand assessment instruments will not include any assessment activities that could be classified as Level 4. However, standards, goals, and objectives can be stated in such a way as to expect students to perform extended thinking. “Develop generalizations of the results obtained and the strategies used and apply them to new problem situations,” is an example of a Grade 8 objective that is a Level 4. The extended time period is not a distinguishing factor if the required work is only repetitive and does not require applying significant conceptual understanding and higher-order thinking.  

39 Cognitive Complexity Levels?
How Does FCAT use Cognitive Complexity Levels? Taken from: FCAT Test Design Summary: July 2008 FLorida Department of Education ( Low DOK

40 Correlation to FCAT

41 Cognitive Complexity of Knowledge Rating for Math and Science
Depth of Knowledge Levels - Science Cognitive Complexity of Knowledge Rating for Math and Science The levels of low, moderate, and high are those used by FCAT and are based on a similar scheme developed by the National Assessment for Educational Progress. These 3-level schemes differ only slightly from Norman Webb’s 4-level scheme. In the FCAT 3-level scheme, Webb’s DOK levels 3 and aspects of level 4 are combined in the “high.”

42 Percentage of Points by Cognitive Complexity Level for FCAT Math
Grades Low Level Moderate Level High Level 3-4 25-35 50-70 5-15 5* 10-20 20-30 6-7 60-80 8* 9 10* Low DOK

43 Percentage of Points by Cognitive Complexity Level for FCAT Science
Grades Low Level Moderate Level High Level 5* 15-25 40-60 25-35 8* 11* Low DOK

44 Writing The FCAT Writing prompt is a high cognitive performance task administered at Grades 4,8, and 10 Low DOK

45 Questions to think about...
If 10-20% of the questions on FCAT are low Level of Complexity...How much class time would we devote to DOK Level 1 thinking? If 80% of the question on FCAT (and in life) require Moderate to High levels of Complexity....What are we doing to promote these complex levels of higher order thinking? Low DOK

46 Depth of Knowledge and the Florida’s Next Generation Standards available at:
Florida’s Next Generation standards were rated in terms of DOK by pulling together a large group that included DOK experts, scientists, science curriculum specialists, teachers, and the Department of Education. This process was facilitated by FCRSTEM and FDOE Office of Math & Science. The result: All of Florida’s Math and Science Next Generation Standards have been assigned a DOK rating. These ratings are available through the Florida Standards Database.

47 Aligning DOK levels of standards and assessments Standards ratings may serve as a “ceiling” for assessment In general, the ratings of the benchmarks set a ceiling for assessment. Thus, a benchmark that is rated at a moderate level, could be assessed at a low level or a moderate level. Ideally, the benchmark rating aligns with the assessment level – this was a purpose for rating benchmarks. This helps teachers know to what depth students are expected to master the benchmarks. It helps to build a common understanding of the expectations of the benchmark, though a great deal of interpretation and consensus building is required.

48 Depth of Knowledge/Level of Cognitive Complexity on the FCAT
Information available on

49 DOK Activity

50 Depth of Knowledge/Level of Cognitive
Complexity on the FCAT This example item was provided by the FCAT developers as an example of a moderate complexity item. The item asks students to bring together understanding of multiple forces (friction and gravity) along with the properties of the materials that the blocks are made of, and finally to make a comparison. The requirements to bring together understanding of properties and forces and then to make a comparison between the different blocks are what make this item a moderate complexity task.

51 Depth of Knowledge/Level of Cognitive
Complexity on the FCAT This example item was provided by the FCAT developers as an example of a high complexity item. This item takes the requirements of the last item up one more step by requiring students to consider an additional variable, the inclination of the plane and therefore requires them to consider multiple variables and explain, in terms of forces, how these variable affect the movement of the blocks. The student is required to predict the effect of a change within the system which requires them to think beyond the image provided. Keep in mind that the moderate level item that this item was built upon can be raised to a high level in many ways. What are some other ways that one could bring the moderate level task up to a high level task? An example would be to provide a set of data and then require students to explain the experiment.

52 Depth of Knowledge/Level of Cognitive Complexity on the FCAT
This example item was provided by the FCAT developers as an example of a low complexity item. The item asks students to recall/recognize which force causes objects to move down an inclined plane. If a student identifies the correct force, the answer is found. It does not require further processing of the information.

53 Key Points DOK 1 + DOK 1 + DOK 1 = 1
Depths of knowledge classification is based on the task, not the student DOK is different from task/item difficulty DOK ratings aid in alignment of standards and assessment, and therefore instruction

54 “A mile wide and an inch deep”
The alignment between tasks, standards, and assessments allows for cognitive complexity with a deeper understanding. “A mile wide and an inch deep” Tasks, standards, and assessments are classified in terms of DOK to ensure alignment between these activities and to ensure that a common understanding of these activities is established for the teachers, students, and administrators. These alignments can be used to indicate how well instruction or a test reflects the intended standards. These alignments also help to ensure that standards, instruction, and assessment result in student understanding that goes deeper than “an inch” Low DOK

55 Remember DOK is... …descriptive
…focuses on how deeply a student has to know the content in order to respond …NOT the same as difficulty. …NOT the same as Bloom’s Taxonomy

56 The Heart of the Matter is the Depth of Knowledge


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