Depth of Knowledge is also referred to as DOK. Depth of Knowledge is the complexity or depth of understanding required to answer or explain an assessment related item. The concept of depth of knowledge was developed through research by Norman L. Webb in the late 1990’s. Webb was a senior research scientist for the Wisconsin Center of Education Research.
Webb originally developed depth of knowledge for mathematics and science standards. However, the model has been used in language arts, mathematics, science, and history/social studies. His model has been adopted by more than ten states.
Webb identified four distinct depth of knowledge levels. Level 1 includes basic recall of facts, concepts, information, or procedures. Level 2 includes skills and concepts such as the use of information (graphs) or requires two or more steps with decision points along the way. Level 3 includes strategic thinking that requires reasoning and is abstract and complex. Level 4 includes extended thinking such as an investigation or application to real work.