Sonoma County Office of Education

Blog: Mathematical Identity: No DOK Without Equity

No DOK Without Equity

Author: Josh Deis
Published: 09.07.16

One of the hottest topics in education recently has been Depth of Knowledge (DOK). First let me briefly define what I mean by DOK. For me, DOK means the depth to which we expect students to demonstrate an understanding of that content in order to successfully complete a task. 


My question is how do we develop DOK in our students?


One obvious answer is to have students work on tasks that require a higher level of DOK. However, giving a high-cognitive task is not enough. How do students engage in the task? I want to emphasize that we can’t get to DOK without equity. 


I had an epiphany this summer while at an equity retreat. If we are really going to expand the depth of our students’ knowledge, we need to have classrooms where everyone is engaged in meaningful tasks. The next step is to provide students the opportunity to discuss their ideas about the tasks. Students really need to talk about each other’s thinking (not just their own).


What these types of rich experiences can provide for students is the ability to see problems and ideas from multiple perspectives. I believe that seeing things from different angles builds the depth we are talking about when we refer to DOK. Unless ALL learners in the classroom are engaged in the conversation, our students don’t get the complex understandings they deserve.


Blog: Mathematical Identity

Nicole Rosaschi, SCOE Administrative Operations Specialist, Human Resources
"I love that the people I work with are passionate about their work, passionate about our students getting the best possible education, and passionate about Sonoma County. " - Nicole Rosaschi, SCOE Administrative Operations Specialist, Human Resources