ERIC Number: ED537693
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Oct
Reference Count: 8
Strategies Leaders Can Use to Improve Rigor in Their Schools
Williamson, Ronald; Blackburn, Barbara R.
Education Partnerships, Inc.
Concern about rigor is not new. Since the release of "A Nation At Risk" (National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983) the debate about the quality of America's schools has grown exponentially. This debate calls for dramatically different schools, schools that are much more responsive to student need, and provide a rigorous curriculum that prepares students for success in higher education and the workplace. Adoption of No Child Left Behind in 2001 raised the debate to a new level. For the first time, schools would be held accountable for the achievement of every student, not just the most capable. Throughout the nation the 3 R's--Rigor, Relevance and Relationships--are now accepted as necessary characteristics of schools. Many states have adopted the 3 R's model as a requirement for school improvement efforts. The High School Alliance, a partnership of 50 organizations committed to high academic achievement, released a pair of reports examining rigor in American high schools (2006a; 2006b). They identified four core principles of a school with a rigorous program: (1) Minimum graduation requirements that prepare students for college; (2) High level content and instruction; (3) Wide range of supports for students to help them succeed; and (4) Alignment of requirements with post-secondary education and work. Most importantly, the Alliance said that having a rigorous course title was not sufficient. "Efforts to increase rigor also require careful examination of course content to ensure it is at an appropriately high level, and teaches students higher order thinking skills" (High School Alliance, 2006b, p. 3). Other efforts recommended by the Alliance include improved guidance and counseling, individualization and personalization; academic supports for struggling students and substantial investment in professional development and other teacher supports. Several ways that principals could work collaboratively with teachers and community to improve their schools are presented.
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Excellence in Education, Graduation Requirements, Educational Change, Course Content, Federal Legislation, Change Strategies, Educational Principles, Administrative Principles, Administrative Policy, Alignment (Education), Academic Support Services, Instructional Effectiveness, College Readiness, College Preparation, Educational Improvement
Education Partnerships, Inc. Web site: http://www.educationpartnerships.org
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: Education Partnerships, Inc. (EPI)
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001