Dear Teacher Who Incorporates DOK in your Classroom,
First of all I would like to thank you for all of the help and support you have given me this year. I have learned so much from the resources and ideas you are posting on your websites, blogs, and Twitter. As I work to improve my students number sense and move them beyond algorithms, focusing on depth of knowledge and reworking some of my questions in class has greatly improved the work we do in class. Sometimes a simple change to a question makes all the difference.
If you have ever read my blog before you know that I have far more questions than ideas to share. So here are the questions I am still struggling with about DOK that I am hoping you can answer. Many teachers talk about tasks that have low floor, high ceiling. Is that how I should be viewing DOK? For students who struggle with math do I start them at DOK 1 and that is all I expect from them? And students who seem ready for more depth can get more complex tasks in DOK3? Perhaps you think this sounds absurd. I certainly do, but this is how I see some teachers using/interpreting DOK. I feel like we should be giving all students DOK2 and DOK3. The idea of differentiated instruction is sometimes interpreted as give struggling students basic tasks they can be successful at (or in my opinion memorize some stuff and do without truly understanding). I understand that if a student isn't ready for grade level skills it does not benefit them to give them those task. So what does this actually look like in a classroom? Do all students get the same task and the differentiation is in the conversations that stem from it? Or am I giving different students different tasks?
I am also curious about assessment. We do tests at the end of each chapter in our textbook. Typically we ask DOK1 (maybe some DOK2) questions because we are assessing skills. We have a letter based grading system, and when creating our tests we discuss what mastery of each skill looks like. In the end we have many bare number problems and very little depth. In class we use higher level thinking but somewhere along the way it seems to have become the belief that not all students can do higher level thinking independently and therefore we should not assess them on it. I would love to know how you use DOK in your assessments. At this point I feel like I can't address these issues (perhaps they are not issues and it is just my perspective that needs to change) if I don't fully understand where we need to go. Once we have a better understanding of DOK, how can we use that lens to improve our assessments?
I appreciate your time in reading through this letter and welcome any and all responses and comments.
Grade 7 Math
A little lost and hoping for guidance