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Where is the rigor?

February 27, 2018

As many of you know, I talk a lot about the Saline Area Schools’ Compass.  I talk about the Student Attributes to students, staff, parents, community members and other educators. It is vital that the Saline community, along with the SAS teachers and students, understand what the Compass means and what it means to be challenged.  

One of the topics that comes up frequently – mostly from staff and parents – is the issue of “rigor.”  I am asked, “Where is the rigor?”  First, this inquiry highlights a general bias that skill development is not rigorous. There is a perception, a preconceived notion, that skill attainment is fundamentally easier or “less rigorous” than developing content knowledge.

I get it… I convinced myself that Listerine worked better than Scope at freshening my breath and killing germs because it tasted worse.  Harder is better – that is perception.  Alka-Seltzer had to work well because it was hard to swallow.  It’s normal to feel like that and to apply that same analogy to learning.

My response to the question of rigor tends to run along these lines: we need to think about difficulty as it relates to the end product and value of the task.   Looking the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy (below), you can see the eight student attributes from the SAS Learner Profile/Compass embedded in top three levels – Analyze, Evaluate and Create.  If we focus on instilling the attributes, we are also focusing the most rigorous phases of demonstrating knowledge.

Screen Shot 2018-02-19 at 7.19.56 PM

One Comment leave one →
  1. Daniella Fay permalink
    February 28, 2018 10:57 am

    Yes, I think I agree with what you’re saying here, I’d just add a couple of things…

    1. I think it’s easy to get off-track with Blooms if we forget it shows a learning progression within a certain area, and not “everything in general”. If we apply it within a specific subject area or topic then we remember that we must have already developed knowledge in order to access the other skills.

    2. If the subject and content is relevant, engaging, and challenging to the learner then I think there is rigor whatever stage of Blooms the learner is currently at, and obviously we would want to help them move forward from that point.

    Thanks for bringing Blooms Taxonomy into my Facebook feed this morning!

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