Rigor and PBL

New Texas exams, teachers and students are told, will require more RIGOR, which may be intimidating. But, does rigor mean that courses have been taught incorrectly, or were teachers doing something wrong that must be put right? I don’t think so. I don’t believe that TEA or the State is trying to make it impossible for students to move into another grade or to graduate; I think education has just become more complex and that the state is trying to prepare students for college and/or for the business world. I know that institutions of higher education and businesses expect students to come to them with more complex knowledge and with a greater ability to think critically than they’ve required in the past. And I know that statistics indicate that U.S. students are falling behind much of the rest of the world in education. We need to expect more from our students so that they’ll be able to compete globally.

Bob Lenz, in his Edutopia blog, has a short list of suggestions for redesigning K-12 education to help students, teachers, and administrators prepare for “deeper learning.” (http://www.edutopia.org/blog/more-planning-time-assessing-pbl-bob-lenz?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EdutopiaNewContent+%28Edutopia%29)

T-STEM Centers, Educate Texas, and the TEA all support project-based learning (PBL) because it helps students grow by demanding rigor and honing critical thinking skills. Heather Wolpert-Gawron in her Edutopia blog says she decided to use PBL in her classes in order to stop teaching to the test. (http://www.edutopia.org/blog/project-based-writing-real-world-heather-wolpert-gawron?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EdutopiaNewContent+%28Edutopia%29)

Does increased rigor intimidate you? Have you tried PBL? Share your thoughts and experiences with us.

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