Cognitive Rigor & DOK Focus Area

The Hess Cognitive Rigor Matrices (CRMs)

Used in classrooms across the U.S.

and translated for use in many other countries!


Module 1 of my Local Assessment Toolkit provides an in-depth approach to introducing cognitive rigor and using the Hess CRMs to plan instruction and design assessments.

To Download the Hess CRMs, click onto each TOOL below

- Tool #1: Close Reading & Listening CRM

- Tool #2: Math & Science CRM 

- Tool #3: Written & Oral Communication CRM

- Tool #4: Social Studies & Humanities CRM

- Tool # 5A: Fine Arts CRM 

- Tool # 5B: Health & Physical Education CRM

Tool # 5C: World Languages CRM

- Tool # 5D: Career & Technical Education CRM


SPANISH versions of Hess CRMs: Tools #1-5D

New! Featured KID Tools - Posted on my Archives Page


Karin's work is referenced in many excellent educational resources and explored in both undergraduate pre-service teacher training courses and graduate research studies. Some of her videos have been viewed by more than 25,000 educators!


Check out resources that reference Karin's work or have chapters by Karin.

Ainsworth, L. & Donovan, K. (2019). Rigorous Curriculum Design. (second edition). The International Center for Leadership in Education. 


Ainsworth, L. (2014). “Unwrapping” the Common Core (second edition). 


Ainsworth, L. (2015) Common Formative Assessment 2.0. Corwin.

Bailey, K. & Jakicic, C. (2016). Simplifying Common Assessment. Solution Tree Press.

Brulles, D., Brown, K., & Winebrenner, S. (2016). Differentiated Lessons for Every Learner. Prufrock Press.

Center for Collaborative Education. (2012). Quality Performance Assessment: A Guide for Schools and Districts. Boston, MA: Author.

Colby, R. (2017). Competency-Based Education: A New Architecture for K-12 Schooling. Harvard Education Press. 


Francis, E. (2016). Now That’s a Good Question! ASCD.

Gibson, V., Cárdenas-Hagan, E., & Hess, K. (2019). Ready to Advance: A New Comprehensive Early Learning Curriculum. Benchmark Education Company.


Hogan, M. & Smart, S. (2020). Fundamentals of Literacy Instruction and Assessment, PreK-6, Second Edition. Paul Brookes Pub.


Pijanowski, L. (2018). Architects of Deeper Learning Intentional Design for High Impact Instruction. The International Center for Leadership in Education.


Stack, B. & Vander Els, J. (2017). Breaking with Tradition: The Shift to Competency-Based Learning in PLCs. Solution Tree Press.


Walsh, J.A. & Sattes, B. D. (2017). Quality questioning: Research-based practices to engage every learner. (2nd Ed).  A Joint Publication: McREL International & Corwin.

Winebrenner, S. & Kiss, L. (2014). Teaching Kids with Learning Difficulties in Today’s Classrooms. Free Spirit Publishing.