A New Definition of Rigor: The Six C’s

CAIS Commission on Professional Development

— Reprinted from the 2012-2013 New England Independent School Guide

A growing awareness of the power of integrated technology, project-based learning, and collaborative student performance has begun to change the way independent schools think about instruction and assessment.

by Andrew W. Niblock

In the twentieth century, rigor in school was typically defined by the sheer volume of content that a student needed to master. Academic success was most often measured using traditional paper-and pencil exams, many of which were quickly and inexpensively scored by machines.

In the twenty-first century, independent schools are imple­menting a new rigor; one that is not defined exclusively by workload and is not easily measured using traditional assess­ments. The new rigor is a response to dramatic changes made possible by technology, in how people live, work and learn.

Historically, the central purpose of schooling was to…

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