Depth of Knowledge: Increasing Rigor within a Catholic classroom and worldview

By Erinn Dougherty, Bourgade Catholic High School

As Diocesan and state standards shift to a more holistic paradigm, it’s important that our Catholic Schools community continues to exceed these standards. Webb’s Depth of Knowledge increases the rigor in curriculum planning and implementation to increase scores and efficacy in the classroom.

It’s not a “taxonomy”

So many teachers and administrators think that Depth of Knowledge (DoK) is a replacement for Bloom’s Taxonomy. It’s not a taxonomy, but a classification scheme. This is much more aligned to our current standards; Diocesan adopted standards are now aligned to the Common Core standards. DoK does not require an inference about the skill, knowledge, and background of the student, but is based solely on what is being asked cognitively. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]The Depth of Knowledge classification scheme classifies assessment items or tasks, not students or student work.[/inlinetweet] Therefore, it is about the complexity of the task cognitively, not the difficulty of the task.

There are 4 levels of DoK to explore

  • Level 1: Recall & Reproduction
  • Level 2: Skills & Concepts
  • Level 3: Strategic Thinking
  • Level 4: Extended Thinking

What this means for your school

As a classroom teacher or administrator, understanding the complexity being asked of students will assist you in creating and evaluating lessons that are aligned to standardized assessments and assist in critical thinking. How we are asking our students to complete tasks directly impacts their level of complexity in academic performance.

Erinn Dougherty

Erinn left public school administration to join the Teaching and Learning Innovation Team at Bourgade Catholic High School in Phoenix, Arizona. Her responsibilities include accreditation chair, new teacher induction, teacher evaluation, teacher coaching, professional development, and English Advanced Placement/pre-Advanced Placement instruction of 3 courses. Erinn is on faculty at several universities in graduate colleges of education. Her areas of expertise are differentiation of instruction, Depth of Knowledge, Structured English Immersion, adult education and coaching, pedagogy and andragogy, curriculum supervision, Response to Intervention, PARCC/SBAC assessments, daily instruction skills, and implementation. In addition to her work in the Diocese of Phoenix, Erinn is also the managing partner at the Dougherty Group.

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