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October Superintendency Message

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Webb’s Depth of Knowledge and Karin Hess’ Cognitive Rigor Matrix

This year, Weber School District has a professional development focus on Webb's Depth of Knowledge (DOK) and Karin Hess’ Cognitive Rigor Matrix (CRM). Webb’s DOK provides a vocabulary and a frame of reference when thinking about our students and how they engage with the content. The Hess CRM offers a common language to understand "rigor," or cognitive demand, in assessments, as well as curricular units, lessons, and tasks.

Webb developed four DOK levels that grow in cognitive complexity and provide educators a lens on creating more cognitively engaging and challenging tasks.

DOK Level 1: Recall and Reproduction
Recall of a fact, term, principle, concept, or perform a routine procedure Tasks at this level require recall of facts or rote application of simple procedures. The task does not require any cognitive effort beyond remembering the right response or formula.

DOK Level 2: Basic Application of Skills and Concepts
Use of information, conceptual knowledge, select appropriate procedures for a task, two or more steps with decision points along the way, routine problems applying 2+ concepts, organize/display data, interpret/use simple graphs

DOK Level 3: Strategic Thinking
Requires reasoning, developing a plan or sequence of steps to approach problem; requires some decision making and justification; abstract, complex, or non-routine; often more than one possible answer or approach

DOK Level 4: Extended Thinking
An original investigation or application to real world; requires time to research, problem solve, and process multiple conditions of the problem or task; OR non-routine manipulations, across disciplines/content areas/multiple sources
Source: Depth of Knowledge with Karin Hess

For classroom teachers, an important question is one of practice: how do we create rich environments where all students learn at a high level? One useful tool, Karin Hess’ Cognitive Rigor Matrix, can help teachers meet that challenge. Descriptors in the CRM provide educators a more sophisticated lens to systematically guide the creation of more cognitively engaging and challenging tasks. To access the desired Hess Cognitive Rigor Matrix click on the subject area below.


Math-Science  |  Reading  |  Writing/Speaking  |  Social Studies/Humanities  |  Fine Arts  |  World Language

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