Podcast On Your Plan ep 43 with Amy Nicar and Julie Moore

IMG_20160825_130233287This episode features Amy Nicar, our state’s assessment BFF, and Julie Moore, Mustang Public Schools! We clarify and discuss a lot of assessment stuff. Amy has been hard at work reviewing possible test items with teachers across the state, including Julie. They give me all the details and, of course, we talk about aspects of education that need to be disrupted. Probably one of my favorite episodes! It has a little something for everyone! Learn more by visiting the Office of Assessment home page.

Thanks for listening and please share with a teacher you love! For more episodes, highlighting great educators subscribe via iTunesStitcher for Android, or listen anywhere via SoundCloud. Leave a message for me on Twitter @mrjoshflores, the SoundCloud stream, or at ELAOKTeachers.com!

The ABCs of DoK for ELA


  1. Increase understanding of shifts in future assessment items
  2. Align current classroom practices to academic standards shifts
  3. Review resources and tools to support alignment


Target Audience: 3-10 ELA Teachers
Session Descriptions: This course intends to increase understanding of assessment shifts and guide instructional practices for English language arts classes aligned to the new academic standards for grades 3-12. Participants will review sample assessment items, share supporting classroom strategies, and discuss alignment to the Oklahoma Academic Standards.

LINKS and Downloads


“We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience”

-John Dewey

[1] Quick Write 

Get into the right frame of mind by participating in this short opener. Set a 2 minute timer and write!

List the books, stories, articles, etc. students read as part of your classroom curriculum each year.

[2] What is DoK?

At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Oh, great. Another acronym. Shocking.” Hopefully, you’ll consider DoK a more pragmatic acronym by the end of this module. DoK stands for Depth of Knowledge and measures the cognitive expectations of an academic standard, lesson/activity, and/or assessment questions or tasks. Four levels of DoK are identified in the following table:

DoK Levels simplified
DoK Levels simplified

Before looking at the released assessment items and prototypes, we need to spend five minutes becoming experts on the first three levels of DoK. Assessments will correspond to one of the first three DoK levels. Your classroom activities and lessons may cross into DoK level 4.

Open your ABCs of DoK for ELA workbook and find the reading titled “Depth of Knowledge Questions.” It covers DoK levels 1, 2, and 3. In an ideal setup, you are going through this module with a small group. So, organize yourselves into teams of three; each member of the team will tackle one of the levels presented (i.e. one person will focus on just the DoK level 1 information while their partner focuses on level 2 and another partner will focus on level 3).

As you read, take notes on each of the following:

  • What is the Role of the Teacher?
  • What is the Role of the Student?
  • What classroom activities correspond to this DoK level?

You have five minutes to read and take notes. At the end of the five minutes, share your understanding with the group. As a group, compose a one-sentence summary for each level and post it in the comments section below.

[3] The ABCs

Now it’s time to apply your knowledge of DoK levels to assessment items! For this part, you will need to (1) work with teachers of your grade-level and (2) have copies of your grade level’s assessment items. There is a chart on the cover page of your workbook to keep track of the items you will analyze, but you may also want to create a larger chart on graph paper for the follow-up group assignment. Go ahead and list the number of assessment items assigned to you under the “Item #” heading.

Take Notes
Take Notes

 A is for Attribute

First, so as not to be influenced by the majority, review the items assigned to you and attribute a DoK level to each item. Your answer may look something like the following example:

Example 1
Example 1


B is for Base

Now, using your copy of the Oklahoma Academic Standards for ELA, base the question around an academic standard. Ask yourself, what is this question assessing? Your answer may look something like the following example:

Example 2
Example 2


C is for Consensus

Now the fun part! With your small group, share your analysis and come to a final consensus of the DoK levels and academic standard(s) addressed for each item.

[4] Closing Group Reflection

Review and respond to the following questions with your group. Please post your responses in the comment section below.

  1. What insights do you have after reviewing the DoK Levels in the Released Items and Sample items?
  2. What questions do you have after reviewing the DoK Levels in the Released Items and Sample items?
  3. How can this knowledge help guide or improve classroom instruction?