Talking to the Test: Rigor & Depth of Knowledge

Help us take the pulse of the education industry! Please click one radio button in the poll question. After submitting, you can see how other educators have responded.

Rigor is a concept that both Common Core and the Next Generation Science Standards have brought into the spotlight. This brief video reviews the basics of Depth of Knowledge (DOK), which is one way test developers measure the rigor of test items.

Perhaps the most common confusion about DOK is that it always correlates to difficulty. A simple math example proves otherwise. Although the problem below is DOK 1 (applying a simple rule), it is challenging (high difficulty):

     3,246,189,799 + 82,154,793 = ________________

Difficulty level depends on context – a question that is easy for a 9th grader may be difficult for 4th grader. Assigning DOK is more straightforward, as long as there is agreement on where you draw the lines — which cognitive tasks are DOK 2, which are DOK 3, etc. In other words, measuring the DOK of an assessment item is a DOK 1 task!

Our video introduced the basics on rigor and Depth of Knowledge. If you want to explore more, the links below provide ample food for thought.

As always, we welcome your thoughts via the Comments.

Leave a Comment