What is Rigor?

How is a classroom in a School for Rigor different? The chart below summarizes the differences between more “traditional” classrooms and those that incorporate “rigor.”

Teacher Centered Classroom

Student Centered Classroom

Student Centered Classroom  with Rigor

Teacher is working harder than the students. Students mostly “compliantly” learn from the teacher.

Students learn from teacher and discuss with each other.

Students are working “harder” than the teacher. Students actively learn from each other, asking difficult questions and pushing on the learning.

High engagement comes from the teacher personality/actions

Engagement comes from group work

High engagement due to the cognitive complexity of performance task and group work

Teacher questions students typically with lower order questions and limited autonomy

Teacher directs students and discussions flow through the teacher with low autonomy

Students question each other with higher order questions and high autonomy

Teacher’s knowledge is visible. Teacher does the majority of the talking.

Student engagement and compliance is visible

Student thinking and learning is visible. Student thinking and conversations dominate the lesson.

Time and energy spent on management routine

Routines allow for productive group work

Routines are sometimes not noticeable because students are self-motivated due to the complexity of thinking with their peers

Teacher leads

Teacher facilitates, students participate compliantly

Students lead and facilitate learning. Teacher provides guidance and resources.

Tasks typically only require retrieval and comprehension

Tasks typically only retrieval and comprehension

Tasks scaffold to analysis and utilization of knowledge

Students sit in rows or in groups without significant interaction

Students sit in groups or go to centers but the tasks are not rigorous

Group interaction on higher level tasks are at the center of the lesson