Thursday, February 28, 2013

Quadrant A of the Rigor/Relevance Framework

This post is what I wrote for the curriculum section in our Friday Forecast sent out to the teachers. It is based on the Rigor/Relevance Framework from the International Center for Leadership in Education

Curriculum in 300 words or less!

Rigor = higher order thinking, not more work.  (Use Blooms and Webs DOK for verbs)
Relevance = learning in which students apply core knowledge, concepts, or skills to solve real-world problems.
Rigor/Relevance Framework is not a continuum.  You do not progress through the 4 quadrants, but your instructional practices fit the mold of a single quadrant.

Today we are just going to focus on Quadrant A of the Rigor/Relevance Framework.

Quadrant A - “Acquisition” - Students gather and store bits of knowledge and information.  Students are primarily expected to remember or understand this acquired knowledge.

Quadrant A’s position on the framework encompasses instruction requires students to understand, comprehend, and apply knowledge that can only be used or applied in one discipline.  This box is titled “Teacher Work”.  When instructional practices match best with the characteristics of this box, a classroom observer would find the teacher doing the majority of the work.

Examples of Quadrant A activities might be:
Writing spelling words three times each.
Completing a word search.
Calling out answers on math flash cards.
Looking through a story to answer non-rigorous questions.
Categorizing foods into various food groups.
Recalling various vocabulary terms.

Implications for Instruction:
Nothing is inherently wrong with instructional practices that fall in Quadrant A.  Some standards that are set before us are close to impossible to apply to real world situations.  When the questions comes, “why do we have to know this?”  There may be no answer other than, “for the test.”  Also, some standards use the verbs recall, define, solve, etc. which all fall in the lower levels of Bloom’s and DOK.  At times, there is just no way around Quadrant A instruction.

Canvass your instruction and pinpoint the practices that match the characteristics of Quadrant A.  Examine these practices and ask yourself the following questions:  Why am I teaching this skill, standard, or student using these practices?  What can I do to this activity to increase the level of rigor(think verbs)?  What can I do to this activity to add knowledge that can be applied across disciplines and even used in real-world situations?

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