Rigor & Relevance:Critical Thinking in the Classroom banner
Learner Description: This webpage is designed for staff, students, and families to better understand the Rigor/Relevance Framework used at Redstone Elementary School.

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Concept Map of Teaching with Rigor & Relevance with subcategories of Essentials to Lesson Planning and Sample Lesson Plans

Rigor/Relevance Framework

Sample Gold Seal Lesson Plans Instructional Strategies: How to Teach for Rigor and Relevance

The Rigor/Relevance framework was developed by the International Center for Leadership in Education as an approach to examining and creating curriculum, instruction, and assessment. It is founded on the education profession’s understanding of Bloom’s Knowledge Taxonomy, placing a heavier emphasis on the application of knowledge. The International Center for Leadership in Education works with schools to implement organizational change that leads to top-notch instruction, curriculum, and assessment systems. It is the belief of the Center that “students are living in a world that is changing dramatically and the education system needs to adapt to those changes in order to prepare students for the world in which they will live and work.” They provide a wealth of resources geared towards school improvement, and their Rigor/Relevance Framework is used across the country to make instruction and its assessment more rigorous and relevant for all student.

The Rigor/Relevance Framework is grounded on the two dimensions of higher standards and student achievement. Referencing Bloom’s Knowledge Taxonomy, the framework emphasizes the importance of planning and assessing instruction at the taxonomy’s higher end of the knowledge continuum, specifically within the areas of application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. The Application Model, described as where knowledge is put to use, encompasses the need for students to apply their learning to solve unpredictable and real-world problems, and to create projects, designs, and other works. The Knowledge Taxonomy (rigor) and the Application Model (relevance) make up the Rigor/Relevance Framework.

The Rigor/Relevance Framework has four quadrants. Each is labeled with a term that characterizes the learning or student performance at that level. The goal for instructional planning within the framework is to build Quadrant D lessons. The International Center for Leadership in Education defines Quadrant D lessons as those where: “Students have the competence to think in complex ways and also to apply knowledge and skills they acquired. Even when confronted with perplexing unknowns, students are able to use their extensive knowledge base and skills to create unique solutions and take action that further develops their skills and knowledge" (International Center for Leadership in Education, 2000, p. 6). The information on this site and the included resource links provide you with a background understanding of the Rigor/Relevance Framework and how it is embedded within the curriculum, instruction, and assessment at Redstone Elementary School.

Instructional Planning: A Shift in Thinking

Clicking on the lock takes you to a Power Point presentation titled "Instructional Strategies: How to Teach for Rigor and Relevance." This is a wonderful discussion on what instructional design should look like within the Rigor/Relevance Framework. It goes into more specifics on tying instructional strategies and learning styles to Quadrant D lesson design.

Sample Lesson Plans

The calculator icon takes you to sample lesson plans identified by the International Center for Leadership in Education as "Gold Seal Lesson Plans." These are lessons submitted by educators that meet the standards for high rigor and high relevance in instructional design, otherwise known as Quadrant D lessons.

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