Depth of Knowledge (DOK) measures complexity and not difficulty. DOK is a tool used to identify the level of rigor for an assessment. It goes beyond content knowledge, and measures how deep students understand, explain answers to problems, provide solutions, and transfer what is learned to real-world concepts.  Essentially, DOK was created for students to stop scratching the surface of content and dig deeper so that students can learn at a higher level.

DOK has four levels: (Please see illustration)

  1. Recall
  2. Skills and concepts
  3. Strategic thinking and reasoning
  4. Extended thinking

There are certain verbs listed within the DOK levels, but those verbs don’t necessarily determine the level of DOK.  When creating an assignment for your student or child, make sure you’re intentionally looking at the cognitive effort that a child will put into the task instead of the verb in the DOK category.

Here are some tips: (Webb’s Depth of Knowledge Guide)

  1. The DOK level assigned should reflect the level of work students are most commonly required to perform for the response to be deemed acceptable.
  2. The DOK level should reflect the complexity of the cognitive processes demanded by the task outlined by the objective, rather than its difficulty. Ultimately the DOK level describes the kind of thinking required by a task, not whether or not the task is “difficult.”
  3. If there is a question regarding which of two levels a statement addresses, such as Level 1 or Level 2, or Level 2 or Level 3, it is appropriate to select the higher of the two levels
  4. The DOK level should be assigned based upon the cognitive demands required by the central performance described in the objective.

Check out our video on DOK and how you can use this information in your classroom or at home with your child. Don’t forget to subscribe to our Youtube channel!!!

To see sample GA Milestone Assessment questions at different DOK levels click here

If you have any more questions, please email me at


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