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Depth of Knowledge Levels

Clarifying rigor by identifying four different levels of content mastery


Locust Grove uses Depth of Knowledge (DoK) levels to increase the rigor and complexity of student learning tasks. Locust Grove adopted this framework from Norman Webb’s Depth of Knowledge research and has implemented it throughout the school. The scoring criteria for each competency is a progression of DoK to ensure that students are designing complex and rigorous tasks. The progression is:

  • Level 1 - Define (basic recall)
  • Level 2 - Reason (able to demonstrate basic application of skill/concept)
  • Level 3 - Design (strategic thinking)
  • Level 4 - Student-driven projects (extended reasoning)

Students at Locust Grove must demonstrate knowledge at Level 3 DoK to show mastery within each competency.

Depth of Knowledge levels are integrated into teaching and learning through pretests and posttests, as well as learning targets that are based on the scoring criteria of competencies, and are defined in defined in students’ Learner Pathways. A DoK 1 in science, for example, might involve learning the vocabulary of a concept, while a DoK 3 would involve designing an experiment to justify their knowledge of the performance indicator. Locust Grove previously started students on DoK 1 and had them progress through DoK 3 learning targets. Currently, they are modifying this approach to have more students start on DoK 3 levels because the DoK 3 activities are more engaging, provide for more student choice, and create better opportunities for student learning. Students backfill DoK 1 and 2 learning targets as needed while progressing through the application of a skill.

Student Does

  • Generally starts at DoK level 3 for each learning target.
  • Incorporates learning from DoK levels 1 and 2 as needed to complete DoK level 3 learning target.

Teacher Does

  • Develops DoK levels for each learning target.
  • Modifies DoK levels for individual students based on their level of knowledge for that learning target.

Technology Does

  • Houses pathways, documents, links, and resources that show DoK levels 1-4 for each learning target.
  • Creates access to feedback, research, design, and development.

Strategy Resources

Locust Grove 8th Grade ELA Learner Pathway

Locust Grove Middle School designs a capstone project for soon-to-graduate 8th graders modeled around 'Genius... Learn More

Barbara Blackburn's DOK Analysis & Planning

Teachers at Locust Grove Middle School use Dr. Barbara Blackburn's DOK tools to both analyze... Learn More

Locust Grove DOK LASW Protocol

Locust Grove Middle School uses this protocol to analyze student work with performance tasks and... Learn More

Locust Grove Webb's DOK Task Analysis Protocol

Locust Grove Middle School uses this protocol to analyze and develop the Depth of Knowledge... Learn More