Depth of Knowledge (DOK) & Big Ideas Math

Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK) provides a vocabulary and a frame of reference when thinking about our students and how they engage with the content. DOK offers a common language to understand “rigor,” and cognitive demand, in assessments, as well as curricular units, lessons, and tasks.


Level 1: Recall

Level 1 includes the recall of information such as specific facts, definitions,  and details, as well as routine procedures (perform a simple algorithm, provide/apply a formula, etc.).  The problem can be “difficult” without requiring deep content knowledge to respond to an item and (the problem) only has one right answer.

Some examples that represent but do not constitute all of Level 1 are:

  1. “Identify”
  2. “Recall”
  3. “Recognize”
  4. “Use”
  5. “Measure”
  6. “Multiply two numbers”

Big Ideas Math Level 1: Big Ideas Math High School; Algebra 1; Chapter 1, page 1.


Level 2: Skill/Concept

In Level 2, the focus is on applying skills and concepts, relationships, and main ideas and requires deeper knowledge than definition. Problems require students to explain how/why, and to make decisions on how to approach a problem or activity, whereas in Level 1, a student is asked to demonstrate, recognize, and preform an algorithm/problem.

Some examples that represent but do not constitute all of Level 2 are:

  1. “Classify”
  2. “Organize”
  3. “Estimate”
  4. “Collect and display data”
  5. “Compare data”

Big Ideas Math Level 2: Big Ideas Math High School; Algebra 2; Chapter 11.4, Exercise 12, page 624.


Level 3: Strategic Reasoning

In Level 3, the focus is on reasoning and planning in order to respond. Furthermore, problems require reasoning, planning, using evidence, and a higher level of thinking. Complex and abstract thinking is required and is often needed to provide support for reasoning or to draw conclusions drawn. In Level 3, more than one “correct’ response or approach is often possible. Certain activities and problems in Level 3 might include drawing conclusions from observations as well as requiring students to explain their thinking.

Some examples that represent but do not constitute all of Level 3 are:

  1. “Determine the equation and solve”
  2. “Interpret information”
  3. “Provide mathematical justification”

Big Ideas Math Level 3: Big Ideas Math High School; Geometry; Chapter 11.1, Exercise 39, page 600


Level 4: Extended Reasoning

In Level 4, the focus is requiring complex reasoning, planning, and thinking for the investigation. The cognitive demand of the task should be high and the work should be very complex with multiple steps. Students should be required to make several connections – relate ideas within the content area – and have to select one approach among several alternatives on how the problem should be solved. Level 4 activities include designing and conducting experiments, developing and proving, making connections, etc.

Big Ideas Math Level 4: Big Ideas Math; Blue, Chapter 8



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