What to Expect

With the push for increased rigor in schools, it’s often difficult to tell what is and isn’t rigorous.  Barbara brings her expertise to that problem with her instructional assessments.  Completely customized for each school or district, Barbara reviews assignments, assessments, and/or instructional practices for rigor and engagement.  She then provides a written analysis, along with specific suggestions for next steps.  Barbara can complete an off-site review of the assignments and assessments, and offers the option of on-site walk-throughs of instructional practices, as well as off-site reviews of recorded instruction. 



Excerpt of Recommendations for Increasing Rigor

Confidential Report Prepared by Dr. Barbara R. Blackburn

**Recommendations based on review of random assignments and assessments provided by each teacher and 62 individual classroom walkthroughs. Please note the information relates to overall patterns in the school and does not focus on individual subjects or teachers.

Levels of Questioning

A wide range of questions is used by teachers in assessments, assignments, warm-ups, and group discussion/interactive lectures. Overall, during classroom instruction, teachers tend to ask questions on the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. However, there is also a pattern of accepting lower level answers without asking extending questions. Wait time is limited, and often teachers will answer for students if they do not answer immediately. Please also see information related to student engagement.


Continue to build on the strong base of questioning that exists. Some teachers are exceptionally skilled at using recall/factual questioning as an introduction for applied learning. Consider incorporating extending questioning as a follow-up for lower-level informational responses (Why? What would cause that? Where would we find out more about that? What is the evidence to support your opinion?). Wait time is always a challenge; incorporating pair/share responses prior to sharing with the whole group has two benefits:

  1. Students gain confidence and are more willing to answer.
  2. All students are engaged in responding, rather than only one person.


Questioning grid from Rigor is NOT a Four-Letter Word

Bloom’s Taxonomy