Thursday, January 2, 2014

Teaching with Rigor- Part I

            The word "rigor" is the new buzzword in education.  We usually associate this word with something difficult or hard. I heard this word daily and I knew the definition, but I did not fully know how to teach with rigor until I learned about Dr. Norman Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK) levels.
           Learning that depth of knowledge went beyond Bloom’s Taxonomy was a huge AHA for me! I always used the verb to determine the level of complexity. Not once did I think that what followed the verb affected the level. For example, let’s take a look at the word “describe”.
·  Describe the main character’s characteristics. (DOK 1)
·  Describe the difference between the main character and another character in the story.  (DOK 2)
·  Describe the relationship between two characters and use textual evidence to support your answer.  (DOK 3)
           So, focusing on the verb alone gives us a false view of the level of complexity and rigor. It is necessary to look at what students must do in order to complete tasks. It is the intended learning outcome that determines the DOK level.  Here is a chart of the DOK levels with examples.
DOK Levels at a Glance

Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4
Recall & Reproduction
Skills and Concepts
Strategic Thinking
Extended Thinking
Requires recall of information such as facts, definition, term or performance of simple processes and procedures
Includes engagement of some mental processing beyond recalling or reproducing a response.
Requires a deep understanding as shown through planning, using evidence and more demanding cognitive reasoning.
Requires high cognitive demand and is very complex. Students are expected to make connections – relate ideas within the content or content areas.
 List animals that survive by eating other animals.
Predict, observe and record changes in the state of matter caused by heating and cooling.
Compare consumer actions and analyze how these actions impact the environment.
Conduct an investigation, from specifying a problem to designing and carrying out an experiment, to analyzing its data and forming conclusions

Note: The amount of  information  provided to the student for given task may change the  DOK level.

What are the DOK levels for the following?
A.  Use context to identify the meaning of words/phrases
B.  Brainstorm ideas related to a specific topic.
C.  Students will identify the interrelationships (themes, ideas, concepts) that are developed in more than one literary work.
D.  Use reasoning, planning, and evidence to support inferences.

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