Content Complexity Rating
Florida’s adoption of the standards for Mathematics and English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects presents an opportunity to revise the state’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK) Model of Cognitive Complexity. Florida’s original three-level DOK model of cognitive complexity was adapted from the four-level DOK model described by Dr. Norman Webb (2005). Webb’s Levels 1 and 2 were represented in Florida’s adaptation of Webb’s DOK model as low and moderate, respectively. DOK Levels 3 and 4 were collapsed into a single, “high” DOK level. Florida is now adopting Webb’s four-level DOK model of content complexity as a means of classifying the cognitive demand presented by standards and curriculum.
Content Complexity ResourcesThere are three main types of resources available on this topic:
Content Complexity Common Definitions
CPALMS coordinated the development of common definitions using Dr. Norman Webb's model for Depth of Knowledge. Common definitions were developed for the following subjects: English/language arts (reading and writing), mathematics, science, social studies, and health education. These definitions served as the cornerstone for the rating of the math and ELA standards that are avilable on CPALMS.
Click here to download the definitions (PDF)
Content Complexity Ratings for the Standards
CPALMS hosted a workshop in July of 2012 to determine the content complexity ratings for the math and ELA standards. A team of curriculum developers, researchers, subject area experts, and teachers from around the state were involved in this event. Professional development was provided to all participants by a team of leading cognitive complexity experts including Dr. Norman Webb. The rating for each standard can be found on the standard pages or anywhere the standards are shown with CPALMS and iCPALMS.
Professional Development Modules
Two professional development modules are available on CPALMS. One is an introduction of content complexity to the general population. The other is a module specific for educators to learn about content complexity, the rating levels, the ratings, and the use of these ratings for instructional planning.
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What is content complexity?Content complexity relates to the cognitive demands inferred from the language of a content standard. In essence, content complexity considers factors such as prior knowledge, processing of concepts and skills, sophistication, number of parts, and application of content structure required to meet an expectation or to attain an outcome. Because of its reliance on prior knowledge, content complexity does bear some relation to grade level.
The Four Levels of Content Complexity
"I participated in three workshops this summer and this was, by far, the most organized and pleasant of the three. Excellent planning and execution."
Participant quote"I participated in three workshops this summer and this was, by far, the most organized and pleasant of the three. Excellent planning and execution."