Learning Forward recently hosted a webinar with Tanji Reed Marshall of the Education Trust about why and how to analyze assignments for rigor and equity.
Assignments are important because they shape students’ thinking and skill-building, affect teachers’ instruction, convey teacher expectations of their students, and influence how students interact with the curriculum. As Marshall reminded participants, “Students can do no better than the assignments they are given.”
Research from the Education Trust reveals that, nearly two decades after many states adopted more highly rigorous standards, students continue to be given assignments far below the rigor demanded to be successful in college and careers.
The webinar began with a review of this research across content areas. Marshall also asked participants to share examples of memorable assignments from their own school years. Most participants shared examples of projects or sustained learning experiences that required deep thinking about complex topics.
Marshall then shared a guide for analyzing the rigor of assignments, which can be used for individual assignments or analyzing assignments over time, and demonstrated how two different lessons would fare in the analysis.
The webinar ended with a discussion about using assignments as a vehicle for thinking about equity.
If you missed it, you can access the archived webinar at learningforward.org/learning-opportunities/webinars/webinar-archive.