The call for increasing rigor in our classrooms is becoming more and more commonplace. The advancement of technology and the expansion of the global market has increased the competition for spaces in colleges and for jobs. Our students must be able to do more than memorize and recite facts. They must be able to think critically and creatively, as well as work cooperatively with others.
Businesses are demanding that employees come to them with a different set of skills than were expected a generation ago. They are looking for employees who can analyze and evaluate a situation to develop a solution. The Virginia Standards of Learning will now include questions that require higher-level thinking skills. This shift in testing requires that we teach students to think critically at all levels. Critically thinking requires students to not only know when the Constitution was written but why it was written and how it has affected history.
With that end in mind, rigor and critical thinking skills must be integrated in the learning environment on a daily basis. In order to achieve this goal, teachers will design lessons that will include the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy (analyzing, evaluating, and creating). In addition, teachers will include various forms of assessments to better gauge a student’s understanding of the content. In addition to multiple choice questions, teacher tests will include open-ended questions, compare/contrast questions, defending their position questions, research papers, projects, etc.
By allowing our students to demonstrate their knowledge in various ways, student achievement will increase for all of our students and they will be college and career ready.