FolksLet’s talk about Rigor!  Parents expect EACS to have a rigorous curriculum and rigorous instruction in the classroom.  But what exactly are we talking about when we say the word rigor? Recently, I attended a professional development seminar with EACS instructional coaches, administrators, and a Board Member focusing on rigor and Depth-Of-Knowledge (DOK).  One of the topics addressed at the seminar was that the concept of rigor is often misinterpreted and misunderstood.

It is important to understand what rigor is and what rigor is not.  Rigorous curriculum and instruction is challenging to the student.  It involves using higher order thinking skills and pushing students to their highest level.  It involves in-depth learning and presenting varying perspectives to be examined.  In summary, rigorous instruction and rigorous curriculum is all about the quality of teaching and learning.  Therefore, rigor, is a focus on quality.  So, if that is what rigor is, what is rigor not?  Rigor is not about the quantity of instruction.  It does not equate to just assigning extra work to a student.  In other words, just because a student may have several hours of homework to complete each evening, that does not constitute rigor.

With that working definition of rigor established, let’s now focus on Depth-Of-Knowledge (DOK) and the correlation of DOK with rigor.  Norman Webb with the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Education Research has identified four levels of DOK.  These four levels have been organized by Karen Hess in Hess’s Cognitive Rigor Matrix which is attached for your review.  Below is a basic summary of the four levels of DOK.

DOK 1 is Recall & Reproduction.  The focus in level one is the ability of a student to define, describe, recognize basic facts, and apply previous learning.  DOK 2 is Skills & Concepts and involves explaining why, comparing and contrasting, showing relationships, and distinguishing between different aspects of information.  DOK 3 is entitled Strategic Thinking/Reasoning.  In DOK 3, students apply concepts, analyze interrelationships, give points of view, and interpret points of view.  DOK 4 is Extended Thinking and challenges students to analyze complex and abstract themes, synthesize information from multiple sources, and draw and justify conclusions.

EACS parents should expect our curriculum and instruction to be rigorous and incorporate all four levels of DOK.  But as your child’s first and most important teacher, what can you do as a parent to provide opportunities at home for your child to practice higher order thinking?  It can be as simple as going to the movies or watching a TV show together and then initiating a conversation in which you provide opportunities for your child to think deeply.  Start with DOK 1 by reviewing the facts of what you just watched together.  Ask them to summarize what they learned.  Then move on to the higher levels of DOK and ask them to compare and contrast the story they just watched with other movies or TV shows they have seen before.  Provide them the opportunity to develop and defend their point of view and to support their position with examples of evidence.  It is very likely that you already do this on the ride home in the car or around the kitchen table, but the more you challenge them to think, the greater the chance they will develop the skills they will need to be successful adults!


Dr. Kenneth H. Folks



EACS Board of School Trustees Recognize Student Poetry Winner
Posted on 02/19/2015
Lizzy Hodges, a ninth grade student at Woodlan Junior-Senior High School, was selected as a winner in the 2014 Poetry Contest sponsored by the Children's Services and Young Adults' Services departments of the Allen County Public Library.  READ MORE...
EACS Board of School Trustees Honors Kelly for Community Service
Posted on 02/19/2015
Recently, the World Champion Voices of Unity Youth Choir selected Tamyra Kelly (Public Relations Liaison for EACS) to be a guest soloist for the Annual Praise Celebration on Sunday, Jan. 11 at Rhinehart Music Center. Tamyra was also selected as the Soloist Liaison to help facilitate the new partnerships between UNITY and the local worship community.  READ MORE...
NANA Honored and Thanked at EACS Board Meeting
Posted on 02/19/2015
oretta Loy (aka ‘Nana’) has made and given away hundreds of blankets to young kids in our community. Nana expanded her mission to include entire classes of preschool children in the hopes that all children would have something of their very own to love while transitioning to the rigors of attending school. Recently, the EACS Board of School Trustees honored ‘Nana’ for all she does for EACS kids!   READ MORE...
East Allen County Students to Participate in 'Voluntary' Indiana Youth Survey
Posted on 02/12/2015
From February 23 through March 13, 2015 all EACS students in Grades 7-12 will be provided an opportunity to participate in a voluntary electronic survey that measures the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. The survey, which is conducted by the Indiana Prevention Resources Center (IPRC), is part of a statewide process to collect data.  READ MORE...
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