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Edmentum’s Partnership with WebbAlign, Part 2: DOK Training & Professional Development

Thursday, February 4, 2016 -- Christy Spivey

This post is the second installment in a series with the team at WebbAlign, a leading provider of research and training in assessment and standards alignment using Webb’s depth of knowledge (DOK) framework. Today, we’re looking at our partnership and recent training session with WebbAlign. To learn more about WebbAlign and the DOK framework, check out last week’s post.

For the Edmentum curriculum team, our goal is to produce the best content and assessments in the industry. In order to achieve this goal, we need the best people, and we need to invest in helping them become even better. As leader of the department, I am always looking for training and professional development opportunities that will inspire and challenge my team to be better than they were yesterday. In 2015, we found a perfect opportunity to do just that by partnering with WebbAlign and participating in depth of knowledge (DOK) training. 

The DOK training, facilitated by Dr. Norman Webb and Sara Christopherson, is professional development (PD) that helps educators and content developers understand what DOK is and how to apply it when building curriculum and assessments. Depth of knowledge is a common language system designed to describe the content complexity of educational materials, and it is important to consider for any group creating materials aligned to standards. Because everything that we build is aligned to standards, this training was perfect for everyone on the Edmentum curriculum team.

The training was in the style of a PD workshop and began with an overview of the DOK model that clarified definitions and dispelled common misconceptions about the framework. Next, the team divided into breakout groups and discussed and practiced application of Webb’s DOK. These breakout sessions had every team member engaged and participating in a real, professional debate about how DOK can best be applied. The debate, discussions, and conversations about DOK were of huge value to the team because they took place with the creator of the framework, Dr. Webb. The atmosphere during and even after the training was energizing. Many team members told me afterward how meaningful and relevant the topic was and how engaged they were throughout the entire day. 

But, we didn’t want our DOK training to stop there! We wanted to continue the buzz about DOK within the team and keep the momentum and energy going. So, we immediately worked to create small teams to continue the discussion and develop a consistent approach to applying DOK to our content and assessments. 

Further extending our training, as part of our partnership with WebbAlign their team also reviewed the DOK levels of our existing assessment items to evaluate how well they aligned to the DOK framework. We received the reviews in early December, and since then, our entire department has been working to calibrate our content and assessment items to the reviewers’ comments. The small groups that we formed after the training will also be working together throughout 2016 to ensure that we continue to discuss how we’re applying DOK and make sure that we’re doing so in a consistent way across all of our products. We’re excited to continue our relationship with WebbAlign and determine new ways to grow our partnership in the coming year.

So, what does this partnership mean for Edmentum’s customers? We recognize that our customers are looking for rigor and alignment in their educational technology solutions, and our participation in this DOK training is key to providing that across our assessments and product solutions. Through our partnership with WebbAlign, we have significantly extended our understanding and perspective on DOK. As a result, we are that much better equipped to create curricula that closely aligns with state and Common Core standards and that effectively prepares students to master the skills and content that they need to know. We believe that this is an important demonstration of our dedication to providing the highest-quality online solutions. We’re confident that all Edmentum customers will benefit from our relationship with the WebbAlign team.

Be sure to check back next week when we wrap up this series with a conversation between the WebbAlign team and our curriculum department about the value of DOK in edtech! In the meantime, check out last week's post for a closer look at the DOK framework.