K-12 Reading Sage Topics

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Webb's Depth of Knowledge (DOK) | Bloom's Taxonomy vs. Norman Webb's depth of knowledge

Webb's DOK Depth of Knowledge Vs. Bloom's Taxonomy | Common Core PARCC Assessments and  Webb's Depth of Knowledge (DOK) | Bloom's Taxonomy and Norman Webb's depth of knowledge PARCC

The Common Core Standards are the cornerstones of the Smarter Balanced and PARCC assessments, Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (scale of cognitive demand) and Blooms Revised Taxonomy (levels of intellectual ability) are the framework and the structures that will be used to evaluate students. Assessing curriculum, developing formative assessments, evaluation curriculum, and evaluation of students knowledge at the highest levels is being shared by two progressive cognitive matrices. Depth of knowledge, and complexity of knowledge is the heart of the more rigorous assessments being implemented in 2014. They share many ideas and concepts yet are different in level of cognitive demand, level of difficulty, complexity of verbs vs. depth of thinking required, and the scale of cognitive demand. Teachers need to learn how the frameworks are used to develop curriculum and how to use them to enhance instructions. Teachers and students can use Blooms Questions Stems and Webb’s DOK questions stems to create higher order thinking and improve achievement. 80% of the PARCC assessments will be based on the highest levels of blooms and the deepest levels of Webb’s DOK. Are you ready to use the DOK or Blooms daily in your class?

The links below are a great resources of Blooms Taxonomy and Webb’s Depth of Knowledge.

Use the fiction passage bellow to test you depth of knowledge.


Once upon a time many, many years ago, there lived in Mexico two sisters named Maria  and Anna. These two young women, liked playing chess and reading books, they loved each other and were always together. No cross words passed between them; no unkind thoughts marred their friendship. Many an interesting tale might be told of their unselfishness, and of how the good fairies gave them the true reward of virtue. One story alone, however, will be enough to show how strong was their affection and their goodness.

It was a bright beautiful day in early spring when Maria  and Anna set out for a stroll together, for they were tired of the city and its noises.

"Let us go into the heart of the pine forest," said Maria  lightly. "There we can forget the cares that worry us; there we can breathe the sweetness of the flowers and lie on the grass-covered ground."

"Good!" said Anna, "I, too, am tired. The forest is the place for rest."

Happy as two friends on a holiday, they passed along the winding path, their eyes turned in longing toward the distant tree-tops. Their hearts beat fast in youthful pleasure as they drew nearer and nearer to the woods.

"For thirty days I have worked over my books," sighed Maria . "For thirty days I have not had a rest. My head is stuffed so full of wisdom, that I am afraid it will burst. Oh, for a breath of the pure air blowing through the greenwood."

"And I," added Anna sadly, "have worked like a slave at my counter and found it just as dull as you have found your books. My boss treats me badly. It seems good, indeed, to get beyond her reach."

Now they came to the border of the grove, crossed a little stream, and plunged headlong among the trees and shrubs. For many an hour they rambled on, talking and laughing merrily; when suddenly on passing round a clump of flower-covered bushes, they saw shining in the pathway directly in front of them a lump of gold.

"See!" said both, speaking at the same time, and pointing toward the treasure.

Maria , picked up the nugget. It was nearly as large as a lemon, and was very pretty. "It is yours, my dear friend," said he, at the same time handing it to Anna; "yours because you saw it first."

"No, no," answered Anna, "you are wrong, my dear sister, for you were first to speak. Now, you can never say hereafter that the good fairies have not rewarded you for all your faithful hours of study."

"Repaid me for my study! Why, that is impossible. Are not the wise men always saying that study brings its own reward? No, the gold is yours: I insist upon it. Think of your months of hard work and your boss that grinds you to the bone! Here is something far better. Take it," laughing. "May it be the nest egg by means of which you may hatch out a great fortune."

Thus they joked for some minutes, each refusing to take the treasure for herself; each insisting that it belonged to the other. At last, the chunk of gold was dropped in the very spot where they had first spied it, and the two comrades went away, each happy because she loved her sister better than anything else in the world. Thus they turned their
backs on any chance of quarrelling.

"It was not for gold that we left the city," exclaimed Maria  warmly.

"No," replied her sister "One day in this forest is worth a thousand nuggets."

"Let us go to the spring and sit down on the rocks," suggested Maria. "It is the coolest spot in the whole grove."

When they reached the spring they were sorry to find the place already occupied. A caballero was stretched at full length on the ground.

"Wake up, fellow!" cried Anna, "there is money for you near by. Up yonder path a golden apple is waiting for some man to go and pick it

Then they described to the unwelcome stranger the exact spot where the treasure was, and were delighted to see him set out in eager search.

For an hour they enjoyed each other's company, talking of all the hopes and ambitions of their future, and listening to the music of the birds
that hopped about on the branches overhead.

At last they were startled by the angry voice of the man who had gone after the nugget. "What trick is this you have played on me, ladies? Why do you make a poor man like me run his legs off for nothing on a hot day?"

"What do you mean, fellow?" asked Maria , astonished. "Did you not find the fruit we told you about?"

"No," he answered, in a tone of half-hidden rage, "but in its place a rattle snake, which I cut in two with my blade. Now, the fairies will bring me bad luck for killing something in the woods. If you thought you could drive me from this place by such a trick, you'll soon find you were mistaken, for I was first upon this spot and you have no right to give me orders."

"Stop your chatter, bumpkin, and take this peso for your trouble. We thought we were doing you a favour. If you are blind, there's no one but yourself to blame. Come, Anna, let us go back and have a look at this wonderful snake that has been hiding in a chunk of gold."

Laughing merrily, the two sisters left the poor cowboy and turned back in search of the nugget.

"If I am not mistaken," said the student, "the gold lies beyond that fallen tree."

"Quite true; we shall soon see the dead snake."

Quickly they crossed the remaining stretch of pathway, with their eyes fixed intently on the ground. Arriving at the spot where they had left the shining treasure, what was their surprise to see, not the lump of gold, not the dead snake described by the idler, but, instead, two beautiful golden nuggets, each larger than the one they had seen at

Each girl picked up one of these treasures and handed it joyfully to her sister.

"At last the fairies have rewarded you for your unselfishness!" said Maria .

"Yes," answered Anna, "by granting me a chance to give you your deserts."

Test Your Knowledge! Are these Blooms or Webb’s question stems and what level are they?

  1. What conclusions can you draw from each sister refusing to keep the golden nugget?
  2. How would you react to finding a golden nugget?
  3. Can you predict the outcome if the sisters did not have great virtue?
  4. What is your interpretation of the author’s main idea or moral to this fairytale?

  1. How would you describe the sequence of events and their importance to the story?
  2. Can you elaborate on the reason why the author used a snake in the story?
  3. What would happen if the fairies left three golden nuggets?
  4. Can you formulate a theory for why the fairies are leaving nuggets of gold in the forest?

  1. Can you explain what it means when Anna feels ground to the bone by her boss?
  2. How would you compare the tone of The Golden Nugget with Hansel & Gretel?
  3. How are The Golden Nugget and Hansel & Gretel Different?
  4. How would you summarize the feeling of the sisters for each other?
  5. What do you notice about the authors use of figurative language?
CCSS ELA DOK Level 3 Question STEM Samples

Fiction DOK STEM | What key details or examples (e.g. dialogue or feelings) in the text can you draw on too explain the antagonists reactions?

Fiction DOK STEM | What evidence do you cite when determining the main idea? 
 Explain why you think that is the main idea!

Non Fiction DOK STEM | What text features (e.g. charts or illustrations) can you use to appraise facts for validity? Are charts an illustrations always based on facts?

Non Fiction DOK STEM | Did you asses the authors use of literary elements or literary techniques when drawing conclusions

/inferences from the text? How does the author use literary elements or literary techniques to develop key ideas?

Things to Think About?
1. How rigorous is your curriculum i.e. your teaching expertise, knowledge and or skills?
2. What resources do you use to insure all students are learning at high levels?
3. What is the quality of the professional development being used in your school to develop curriculum i.e. teaching expertise, knowledge or skills?

4. How many rigorous learning characteristics do you see in your school? examples: Higher/deeper levels of thinking (non-routine),  collaborative learning; constructing knowledge, problem-solving, higher-order thinking, teaching to others, convey content ideas in multiple formats i.e. speaking, writing, modeling, incorporating knowledge from other content areas. 


  1. I'm curious about the answers... where in Webb's and Bloom's would you place each of the 13 questions?

  2. As far as I know, our article in 2009 was the first to explicitly compare DOK and Bloom's Taxonomy. It also defined the term cognitive rigor, a superposition of Bloom's and DOK, that is now used by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium for selecting test items for the Next Generation Assessments.


  3. The link to "Depth of Knowledge Consistency" does more harm than good, considering that it attempts to map between Bloom's Taxonomy and Depth of Knowledge. No such mapping exists.

    The DOK "verb wheel" (which appears in many of the linked documents and especially on the dese.mo.gov link, is also incorrect. DOK levels cannot be defined by verbs. This graphic has appeared in countless trainings and can only serve to mystify teachers trying to understand the distinction between Blooms and DOK.

    1. Thank you for your link and clarification on the incorrect use of verbs to define WEBB'S DOK! I have seen the verb wheel for three years at every CCSS training and CCSS crosswalk! If you have any more articles to share please email me!

  4. I cannot fathom how the wheel can be used to understand DOK. I think we are going to prepare a blog article on the wheel and see if we can turn this ship around. But it will be tough.

    To answer your question, check out the wikipedia article on cognitive rigor.

  5. Just as a note, I received email from Norman Webb about the DOK chart ("wheel") that appears in the fifth link (and countless trainings). He is often asked by educators and consultants for permission to use the chart, for which he responds that he is not the creator of that DOK chart and discourages its use for precisely the same reasons I stated in my earlier response.

    If you are looking for more articles on DOK, here is an article we published in SEEN Magazine some years ago.


  6. Please check out my blog on the subject of cognitive rigor. http://granted-solutions.blogspot.com/


Thank you!