Diana Spratt
Critical Analysis #1

Rigor: A Part of the Curriculum?

What is curriculum and how is rigor a part of it? Those are good questions for teachers, parents, and school administrators. Curriculum is what teachers teach and the Common Core Standards are where the curriculum comes from. The new Common Core Standards in reading and math have been handed to the teachers in Arizona this year to digest and teach with fidelity from.

There are many assumptions that go along with the Common Core Standards. One assumption is that every student will learn the Standards at the same time. Another assumption is that there is enough time in the school year for every student to be prepared for Standardized testing, using the Standards. Yet another assumption is that the Common Core Standards are easy to implement.

The realities of these assumptions are totally different. Students in classrooms do not learn the Standards at the same time. Teachers take students at their level of learning and work to complete the Common Core Standards, showing understanding of the concepts, before the school year ends. In Assumptions, Melissa M. discussed the fact that the math curriculum pacing chart has too much to teach. “At the time of AIMS testing, there were 36 topics to teach in three weeks time.” Are students able to learn these math concepts in three weeks? I would be surprised especially if they have to show mastery. The new Common Core Standards have been changed to make them easier to teach. Teresa T. mentions in a reply to Lacy B’s., School Problems, that even though she has been teaching for four years: “…this is our third set of standards.” As a teacher, it is frustrating to correlate our teaching to one set of standards and be comfortable with it when along comes a new set of standards that are “better”.

In order for the Common Core Standards to be better, there must be rigor included. This is an approach in which teachers need to teach “deeper, not more”. Teachers hear from the pubic forum that graduating students are not prepared for college and the real world. Graduates do not know how to think critically. This is where rigor comes in. Students must be allowed to involve themselves in what they are learning. Sarah P. wrote in Assumptions in Teaching, that as soon as her students understand the concept, she: “…has them explore to get a deeper more fulfilling grasp of their knowledge.” Amanda M. found that the excitement her students felt about what she was teaching continued after the school day was over. She wrote in Assumptions in Teaching, about her students working at home on their computers to get deeper meaning about Tombstone’s history.

In conclusion, with the new Common Core Standards rigor must be implemented in order to teach critical thinking. Teachers will have to work together to find where rigor can be added to their teaching in order to deepen the student’s knowledge.


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