Rigor: Define & Embrace!

Are you wondering about rigor?  What is the difference between rigorous standards, rigorous questioning, and instructional rigor?  Rigorous standards are important, but the Common Core State Standards do not address how to implement rigorous instruction.  Rigorous questioning is critical, but it is not enough.  For example, a teacher might ask rigorous questions, but accept lower level answers.  In that case, the instruction is not rigorous.  Barbara's nationally recognized concept of instructional rigor includes high expectations, scaffolding for instruction, and demonstration of learning.  For more, download and read the Beginner's Guide to Rigor.


Rigor is creating an environment in which each student is expected to learn at high levels, and each is supported so he or she can learn at high level, and each student demonstrates learning at high level.  (Blackburn, 2008).

The Beginner's Guide to Rigor
A short, four page introduction to the concept of instructional rigor. It includes information on the purpose of rigor, a definition of rigor, and examples of rigor in the classroom.
The+Beginner's+Guide+to+Rigor copy.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [11.8 MB]



Rigor Resources

Quick-links to material in the Free Resources portion of this site:

A New Perspective On Rigor: The Impact

"There has been so much talk about how we (teachers) are not challenging our students, and frankly, I was a little frustrated.  I wasn't sure if I was good enough, but no one could explain what rigor looked like in the classroom.  I was amazed to hear you and then read your book.  WOW! Finally, a definition of rigor that is all inclusive rather than just focusing on tests or more homework.  Then, I found practical strategies I could integrate with my existing instruction to make rigor a regular part of my classroom.  Thank you for being a teacher who talks to teachers!  By the way, my principal says your description of rigor has helped him be a better leader too.  Thank you!"

---Teacher, Atlanta, Georgia




“Barbara’s enthusiasm and energy were described by participants as infectious and inspiring. It is rare to find a consultant capable of providing ideas for all levels and subject areas. Participants walked away feeling renewed with practical strategies they could use immediately.  Though Barbara started out as a visitor, she quickly became a part of our school district by taking the time to learn our story, share her story and reaffirm a belief that we really do make a difference.”

----Maureen Hauswald, Director of Instruction

     Adams-Friendship Schools, Wisconsin