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What is Rigorous Instruction?

6700283_orig This year was our first year implementing the Common Core Standards and a reoccurring word that is used when describing the standards is they are more rigorous than the previous state standards. In Louisiana there has been growing opposition to the standards by both parents and politicians. One common statement that has been made is that the standards are common and they are not as rigorous as the previous state standards.
Rigor is understood in the educational arena as instruction that challenges a students ability to think. Bloom’s Taxonomy serves as a guide for instruction when determining the rigor of a lesson. The levels of Bloom’s are remembering,understanding, applying,analyzing, evaluating, and creating. I’ve heard parents say or brag about their child learning multiplication facts in first grade, but what parents do not understand is remembering is the lowest level of thinking and it does not require much thought process and only requires a child to recognize numbers. So, learning multiplication facts is rather easy if a child sees them often and has a good memory.

I have been teaching for 14 years and this year I can say that implementing the Common Core State Standards did not only increase the rigor in my instruction but it also increased the amount of thought that I put into planning my lessons because the skills were more complex when taught to younger students. For example, increasing the amount of non fiction text that students in grades k-2  are exposed to increases the rigor of instruction because it exposes students to tier 3 words, or content specific words, which help to build their vocabulary early rather than late in elementary. Vocabulary-Cake Many critics of the Common Core Standards see this shift as unnecessary because the belief is that students in k-2 should be reading and hearing fun stories because school is suppose to be fun. Also, I have heard educators complain about teaching students multiple ways to add, subtract, multiply or divide. This practice also increases the rigor of simple math lessons because it challenges the students ability to determine when a strategy is appropriate or not appropriate to use during computation.
Whether you love or hate the Common Core State Standards one statement that cannot be made is that the standards are not rigorous enough or do not challenge the students thought process. As a TAP Master Teacher one statement that always stuck with me is that thinking is the process and student work should be the product of thinking.

7 thoughts on “What is Rigorous Instruction?”

  1. Thanks for your perspective. I am against common core, but, I am glad that you have found that the standards helped to elevate the level of teachers.

    1. I’ve worked in 3 different states and my perspective on things is a lot different than most. I take the “buffet” approach to teaching, some things I will like and some things I won’t. Even in the great state of Texas I disagree with some of it’s standards, but what can you do? If you can’t beat them join them and do the best that you can!

  2. Thank you for writing this. I teach middle school, and I couldn’t agree more with how you describe the impact of the Common Core on my classroom, my teaching, my planning, and my students.

    I am working to create a blog for teachers to use as part of their professional learning plan. Would you mind if I used this for one of my posts to aid discussion? I will make sure to link to your post.

    Thank you again,

  3. Pingback: 3 Tried and True Ways to Help Struggling Readers Comprehend Nonfiction - IgnitED

  4. I disagree. I don’t understand why it’s necessary to change a teaching method that worked for years. Is it really helping the students or only those teachers who wish to break the boredom and feel like they’re making an impactful difference in the world by changing a system that brought us the greatest thinkers in history? Has anybody looked at stats on how many primary and secondary education students hate school or learning now? Where does the U.S. fall in the ranking compared to other countries? Why do foreign students top U.S. students all or most of the time? Please explain.

    1. Thank you for taking to the time to read my blog post. The U.S. educates all of its children regardless of their ability. Foreign countries such as China only provide education for the best and brightest. Which means that they are choosing their students’ path in life. Also, the public school system in United States doesn’t employ the best and brightest teachers. Teaching is usually a default for people who can’t find a job in their field. The U.S. doesn’t value teachers at all.

      Our current public school system is outdated. The students aren’t the same and the jobs that we’re preparing them for in most cases don’t even exist. We need to change the way that we teach students. We’re a global society.

      Americans value Football, Basketball, Baseball and big businesses. It’s a capitalistic society. Even as the Coronavirus spreads throughtout the United States we have a president who is saying that people need to get back to work. If that’s any indication where America priorities lies then I don’t know what is.

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