Rigor, Relevance and Relationships Can Make a Difference

artwork by Steve Heath

After the blog post, My Last Math Class, was re-tweeted many times last week, I realized that making math relevant for our students is important to a lot of people.  If that’s the case, then the Rigor/Relevance Framework should be of interest to our readers.What is the Rigor/Relevance Framework? The International Center for Leadership in Education created this as a tool for examining and reviewing practices in curriculum, instruction, and assessment.  According to the Center, two dimensions of higher standards and student achievement can be used in a variety of ways.  The framework provided for your review is on the home page of The International Center for Leadership in Education website.

In response to the creation of the framework, The American Association of School Administrators wrote and published an article listing tips for using rigor, relevance, and relationships to improve school achievement.  The article begins with the sharing of several observed examples of teachers succeeding in one of the three dimensions but failing in another, leading the organization to ask,

Closing the achievement gap between groups of students on standardized tests has become a familiar imperative for many educators and politicians. Yet how can students meet high academic standards if they don’t believe in their ability to do so? How can they learn if they aren’t academically engaged? How can they set and reach academic goals if they don’t see the relevance of learning to their lives?

In an attempt to understand how the framework might help us answer those questions, a detailed explanation of the significance of each part of the framework is provided.  In addition, the section called  Vital Relationships reviews how student perspectives were assimilated into the framework; the participation gap is examined and suggestions for closing the gap are made; and essential learning criteria in successful schools are identified.

Throughout the summer many schools across the country have been conducting workshops for school administrators to prepare them to use the framework in the school year.  Hopefully, these leaders will prepare their teachers to use it for self-assessment.

Bringing rigor into the classroom while at the same time making it relevant for students in conjunction with building relationships with students is lofty but noble goal.  Implementation will take work, desire, and commitment to the goals, so let’s hope many are willing to try.

8 thoughts on “Rigor, Relevance and Relationships Can Make a Difference”

    1. Maryscott Glasgow

      Thank you so much for your support! Please check out the latest post when you have time, and let me know what you think about the subject.

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