Preparing for FSA – Content Complexities

The Florida Standards Assessment for mathematics is months away, but the preparation can never begin too early. You may be aware of Dr. Norman Webb’s model for Depth of Knowledge (DOK). Though Webb’s model implies 4 complexity levels, Florida has collapsed the 2 highest levels into one “high” level.


It is important these levels are not confused as item difficulty as any standard could have items created with low, medium, and high levels of difficulty. The content complexity levels should apply to the standard and help shape the depth that the standard is both taught and assessed to. This is key on both sides of spectrum, as teachers should be sure to teach standards with a high content complexity rating (3) by ensuring students are able to reason, plan, use evidence to explain their thinking and make conjectures with this content. On the other hand, when working with standards with a low or medium content complexity (1 or 2) teachers should ensure not to spend too much time digging too deep.

The content complexity levels have been explored in detail by CPalms, the Florida Standards official website. Readings, videos, and professional development around the MAFS, the FSA, and the content complexities levels can be found at

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  1. Pingback: Depth of Knowledge Matrix for Elementary Mathematics | SMathSmarts

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