Content Complexity Rating

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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.



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

four levels