During a public hearing over social studies lessons included in Texas’s CSCOPE curriculum management system, educators and members of Texas’s State Board of Education got into a discussion about the meaning of “rigor.” All agreed that giving students material that is developmentally appropriate for a higher grade may be “harder,” but is not more rigorous. Research suggests that rigorous instructional materials:
- Engage students with complex but grade-appropriate, complex content,
- Require students to think critically about what they learn, and
- Ask students to solve problems linked to the real world and their own lives.
As John Bogess explains in The Three Rs Redefined for a Flat World, these attributes address the quality of student thinking and may be found in instructional materials used at any grade level and in any subject area.