Monday, September 14, 2015

DOK: Depth of Knowledge Rising to Spotlight in HCS

The ACT Aspire for Grades 3-8 and Grade 10 is now the Alabama State Department of Education required assessment for all Alabama school districts.  It measures students' achievement in  math, reading, English, writing, math, and science.  The Aspire aligns with the Grade 11 and 12 ACT.

ACT has chosen to use Webb's Depth of Knowledge as a framework for developing questions for the assessments.  In 1997, he developed a process and criteria for systematically analyzing the alignment between standards and standardized assessments.  The model includes 4 levels of cognitive expectations or depth of knowledge that allow students to show their learning.  The 4 levels are as follows:
                    1.  Recall and Reproduction
                    2.  Skills and Concepts
                    3.  Short-Term Strategic Thinking
                    4.  Extended Thinking

As schools analyze the results of the spring 2015 ACT Aspire results, it will be helpful to also examine the types of tasks our students were asked to complete.  Most of the ACT Aspire questions for each grade level match the Level 2 and Level 3 DOK question tasks.  Level 4 tasks are typically long range projects extending over hours, days, or weeks.  Since the ACT Aspire subject tests are time limited, Level 4 tasks are not included in the spring tests.

Recall and Reproduction Questions: DOK Level 1
Curricular elements that fall into this category involve basic tasks that require students to recall or reproduce knowledge and skills.  The content at this level involves working with facts, terms, and/or properties of objects.  It may also involve use of simple procedures and/or formulas.  There is little transformation of extended processing of the target knowledge required by the task.  A student answering a Level 1 questions either knows the answer or not.  The answer does not need to be "figured out" or "solved."  DOK Level 1 items on the ACT Aspire make up about 14-24% of the reading section questions and about 5-16% of the math section.

Verbs that descsribe Level 1 tasks include the following: responds, remembers, memorizes, explains, restates, interprets, absorbs, recognizes, describes, translates, and demonstrates.  Level 1 activities may include tasks such as making timleines, developing concept maps to show a process or describes a topic, making a chart, drawing a picture to illustrate an event, process, or story.

Skills and Concepts Questions: DOK Level 2
Curricular elements that fall into this category ask students to compare and differentiate, apply multiple concepts, classify and sort, predict, explain (tell why), provide examples and non-examples, and use context for unknown words.  There is usually only 1 correct answer, but students will need to make multiple-step decisions, make inferences, and may need to collect data.

DOK Level 2 items on the ACT Aspire make up 38-62% of the reading questions and 27-38% of the math questions.

Verbs that describe Level 2 tasks include the following: classify, organize, estimate, make observations, collect and display data, and compare data.

Strategic Thinking Questions: DOK Level 3
Curriculum elements that fall into this category ask students to plan, reasoning, evaluation, analyze, and solve real-world problems.  These tasks may have more than one answer and more than one way to reach an answer.  Students are challenged to provide evidence and reasoning for conclusions drawn and must justify their thinking.  These tasks require understanding of a text, data set, investigation or key source.

DOK Level 3 items on the ACT Aspire make up 24-48% of the reading section and 51-62% of the math section.

An example of a 5th Grade reading question might be: What does the narrator mean when he or she says, "When people had cholera it seemed they remembered nothing but themselves"?  Does Mary believe anyone will come for her?  Another example could be: Read Rudyard Kipling's poem "Cholera Camp."  Compare and contrast how the excerpt form The Secret Garden and the poem describe a cholera outbreak.

An example of an Algebra 1 question could be: Jack, Luka, and Tony took a quiz.  Luka's score was 12 less than Tony's score and three times Jack's scorse.  If Jack's score was 1/9 of Tony's score, what was Tony's score?  Answer choices:  a) 6   b) 12   c) 18   or   d) 24.

This school year, we'll be posting more about Webb's Depth of Knowledge on the LTI site.

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