Open Book


Depth of Knowledge

A framework that is divided into four levels of rigor each demanding learning and thinking at deeper cognitive stages.

"Depth of knowledge (DOK) refers to the level of understanding required to answer a question or perform an activity."

-Derrick Meador

DOK in the Classroom

Level 1

Recall & Reproduction

Elements in this category require students to recall or reproduce knowledge and/or skills. The subject matter deals with facts, terms and properties of objects. There is little extended processing at this level. 

A student answering a question at this level either knows the answer or does not know the answer but they do not need to figure it out or solve anything.

Level 3

Short Term Strategic Thinking

These items demand short term use of higher order thinking processes such as analysis and evaluation. Students would be exposed to solving real world problems with predictable outcomes. The expectation at this level requires the coordination of knowledge and skills from multiple subject areas. Key processes at this level include: analyze, explain and support with evidence, generalize and create. 

Level 2

Working with Concepts and Skills

This level includes engagement of some mental processing beyond recall or reproducing a response. Students are required to contrast, compare, convert, classify, sort etc. This level ask students to describe or explain - "how and "why". At this level, students are asked to transform/process target knowledge before responding.

Level 4

Extended Strategic Thinking

Items at this level demand extended use of higher order thinking processes. (synthesis, reflection, assessment and adjustment of plans over time) Students engage in conducting investigations and employ and sustain strategic thinking processes over long periods of time to solve a problem. 

DOK Sentence Stems

Level 1

  • Can you recall___?

  • When did ___happen?

  • Who was ___?

  • How can you recognize___?

  • What is___?

  • How can you find the meaning of___?

  • Can you recall___?

  • Can you select___?

  • How would you write___?

  • What might you include on a list about___?

  • Who discovered___?

  • What is the formula for___?

  • Can you identify___?

  • How would you describe___?

  • How would you show___?

  • Who were the main___?

Level 2

  • Can you explain how ___affected___?

  • How would you apply what you learned to develop___?

  • How would you compare___? Contract___?

  • How would you classify___?

  • How are___alike? Different?

  • How would you classify the type of ___?

  • What can you say about ___?

  • How would you summarize___?

  • What steps are needed to edit___?

  • When would you use an outline to___?

  • How would you estimate___?

  • How could you organize___?

  • What would you use to classify___?

  • What do you notice about___?

  • What data was used to make the conclusion___?

  • What inference can you make___?

  • How would you rephrase the meaning___?

  • What is meant by___?

  • What conclusions can you draw___?

Level 3

  • How is ___related to ___?

  • What conclusions can you draw___?

  • How would you adapt___to create a different___?

  • How would you test___?

  • Can you predict the outcome if ___?

  • What is the best answer? Why?

  • What conclusion can be drawn from these three texts?

  • What is your interpretation of this text? Support your rationale.

  • How would you describe the sequence of ___?

  • What facts would you select to support___?

  • Can you elaborate on the reason ___?

  • What would happen if___?

  • Can you formulate a theory for ___?

  • How would you test___?

  • Can you elaborate on the reason___?

  • What approach would you use to ___?

  • What evidence can you find___?

  • How would you rate the___?

  • How would you justify___?

  • What is your opinion of___? 

Level 4

  • Write a thesis, drawing conclusions from multiple sources.

  • Design and conduct and experiment. Gather information to develop alternative explanations for the results of an experiment. 

  • Write a research paper on a topic.

  • Apply information from one text to another text to develop a persuasive argument.

  • What information can you gather to support your idea about___?

  • How would you improve___?

  • What would happen if___?

  • What could be done to minimize/maximize___?

  • What could be combined to improve (change)___?

  • Suppose you could ___what would you do___?

  • What would be your own original way to ___?

  • In what way would you design or redesign ___and why?

  • How would you prioritize criteria for making this decision?

  • Can you formulate and test a conjecture for___?

  • Can you predict potential benefits and drawbacks?

  • Can you think of an original way to apply___?

  • Can you assess the value or importance of___?

  • Do you agree with the actions___? with the outcomes___? with the decision to ___?


Adapted from Depth of Knowledge - Descriptors, Examples and Question Stems for Increasing Depth of Knowledge in the Classroom Developed by Dr. Norman Webb and Flip Chart developed by Myra Collins