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Webb’s Depth of Knowledge Framework: The Basics

Webb’s Depth of Knowledge Framework: The Basics

Many educators work hard to expand their students’ knowledge and get them to think in various ways every day. Short of increasing homework assignments and forcing longer school hours, how can educators increase rigor in their students? Teachers often turn to educational models to develop their lessons, classroom activities, and teaching tools to get their students working at a deeper level of understanding.

Norman Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK) framework is a highly regarded model that has been proven to be useful in understanding what type of knowledge is required to solve problems in academia. Webb has outlined different levels of content complexity and understanding. Let’s take a look at an example, the DOK summary definitions for mathematics, which follow:

Level 1: Recall

This level is the basic recall of information, such as a fact, definition, term, or a procedure. Typically, this is as simple as remembering a formula or following a recipe.

Level 2: Skills and Concepts

The second level requires a student to make informed decisions about problem-solving and procedures. In this level, students are asked to complete multiple steps in order to find a solution, like collecting and then displaying data in a chart.

Level 3: Strategic Thinking

This level requires reasoning, planning, using evidence, and a higher level of thinking. Asking students to explain their thinking is a part of this level. This level is more complex and abstract than the previous two.

Level 4: Extended Thinking

The last level of the of the four is the most complex. This level requires complex reasoning, planning, developing, and thinking most likely over a period of time. A student both designing and conducting an experiment is a demonstration of this level.

Interested in learning how Edmentum incorporates Webb’s DOK framework into our programs? Check out our technology-enhanced 21st century item types!'s picture
Brita Hammer

Brita started with Edmentum in March 2018 and currently serves as a Marketing Associate. She is passionate about providing teachers resources to help their students achieve in and out of the classroom. Brita earned a B.S. in Marketing from North Dakota State University.