With the push for increased rigor in schools, it’s often difficult to tell what is and isn’t rigorous.  With her Rigor Check, Barbara brings her expertise to that problem with an expert review of instructional assessments. Customized for each school or district, Barbara offers three options.  First, she can review assignments, assessments, and/or instructional practices for rigor.  She then provides a written analysis, along with specific suggestions for next steps during the debriefing  


Next, she can train teachers and leaders on the process, which builds expertise, shared ownership and sustainability.  Finally, she can follow a distributed leadership model to extend your reach. 


Professional Development and Distributed Leadership Process

Professional Development Plan
A description of the professional development plan to train teachers and leaders on the process to evaluate tasks and assessments for the level of rigor and improve them as needed. The distributed leadership model is also described.
Increasing Growth in Student Learning.pd[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [515.4 KB]

Sample Excerpts from Reports

Sample Recommendations
Sample Recommendations for Review of Ass[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [498.4 KB]

Sample District Pre-Assessment

Sample District Pre-Assessment
This is a short excerpt on a district-wide pre-assessment. Teachers from all schools chose a task, assignment, test, project, or other assessment that they considered rigorous. Using a validated criteria, Dr. Blackburn provided an expert review, then completed an executive summary so the district could plan next steps.
Sample District PreAssessment.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [36.6 KB]

In advance of the 3 hour Skype session, Barbara and I spoke at length on the phone regarding our school’s needs, which were focused on increasing depth of knowledge learning opportunities for our students.  I collected samples of assignments and corresponding student work and sent them to Barbara in advance of our session.  I also made multiple copies of the samples for my staff to use during the discussion.  We conducted the Skype session as an all staff meeting in our media center, projecting the skype image and using large speakers so Barbara could be heard clearly.  She led the review of the work, providing teaching and questioning to keep staff engaged.  Teachers reflected on the work as Barbara questioned them.  After the session, she sent the work back to the teachers with specific feedback as related to DOK.  We were then able to use this as a springboard to continue our own DOK work using common language and understandings which grew out of our session with Barbara. Barbara’s work with our staff through this innovative collaborative method has positively impacted student achievement in our school!



Brian Keefer, Elementary Principal, Henry County Schools