Rigor/relevance framework amended
I have been intrigued by the rigor/relevance framework created by the International Center for Leadership in Education and cited in Sheninger and Murray’s book Learning Transformed. Rightfully so, it has a focus on evaluation of curriculum, instruction, and assessment along a continuum of rigor (using the new Bloom’s taxonomy for higher level thinking) and relevance (which moves from single discipline learning to integrated, real-world and unpredictable application). As we examine the importance of place-based education as the core center of Education 3.0, I would propose a third axis of agency and impact. This axis would focus on both the learner-centered”ness” of the student experience as well as the impact that the product has on the world. One would start with teacher-directed, no impact and move towards completely student-generated with impact at scales beyond the classroom. On the original framework, a teacher might create a project for a group of students to examine poverty across the world, compare and contrast causes, and create a digital media presentation to present to peers in the classroom. This would rank high on both relevance and rigor. If you add the third axis in, the teacher would start with a simple question, “Is their poverty in our community?” Students would decide on the people, places, and organizations that are needed as resources, follow paths to understanding and learning, and eventually build a local solution that supports change in the community. By adding a third axis to the rigor/relevance framework, educators can reflect on how much voice/choice can be added to the learner experience in addition to higher level thinking and interdisciplinary applications. To be clear, not every assignment or project completed by the student must fall on the far end of each of these axes, but over time, learners need to tackle projects that are reaching farther and farther out to be “future-ready” in an unpredictable world.