The Missing 4th R

By Steven Mintz | December 14, 2020 | INSIDE HIGHER ED

Rigor is conspicuously absent from the current discourse on educational innovation.

Rigor is a concept that goes in and out of fashion, peaking, most recently, in the 1990s and early 2000s, and then fading away.

Higher education is as susceptible to fads and fashions as any other sector of the economy. Much as hemlines rise and fall or beards and mustaches go in and out of fashion, so, too, do educational ideas wax and wane.

Over the past two decades, one catchphrase and buzzword after another dominated higher ed’s agenda. Think access, accountability, affordability, and attainment. These words speak to real challenges. After all, we need to raise graduation rates, accelerate time to degree, eliminate achievement gaps, better prepare students for the workforce, and reduce student debt.

The question is how.

...Think of rigor in terms of the kinds of learning activities that students must undertake and the assessments used to verify and validate their learning.