What Is Academic Rigor And Why Is It So Important?

What Is Academic Rigor? Academic rigor is the creation of lessons that challenge students. Continue reading to know more about Academic Rigor and its importance.

Updated by Anchal S on 15th October 2020

Academic rigor is often a mistaken term. The meaning is related to the quality of teaching and learning. Academic rigor by definition means, setting high/rigorous academic standards for the students. This helps students to develop skills like critical thinking and practical application and more. Academic rigor is of the utmost importance when it comes to applying for colleges for higher education.

There lies a thin line between challenging and frustrating the students. This term is very often wrongly interpreted as loading students with larger assignments, homework, more math, and science. However, it has got nothing to do with these. An academically rigorous school focuses both on success and challenge. This is achieved by raising the bar with high academic standards. One reason that justifies its importance is, it helps students to stand out from the crowd.

Importance Of Academic Rigor

Universities and colleges expect more than average students. What is the distinguishing factor? There are thousands of students or millions in the number who desire to get admission to their dream colleges. But as we all know that just dreaming won't help you gotta work for it. In this case, as an aspiring student, you have to make sure your profile stands out. So that the universities pick you. 

One solution to get better at this is by having extraordinary skills, or a different approach towards problem-solving. Let me also tell you that this does not happen overnight. This requires years of training, practice, challenging scenarios, and learning from it. All of these can be achieved in an academically rigorous school. 

Universities are looking for students who went one step further to improve their skills and to gain knowledge in their schools. That does not mean that they do not consider GPA. Colleges select students who strike a balance between the two. For instance, if you took challenging courses and also were able to maintain a decent GPA, then it means you have an upper hand advantage here. 

How To Increase Academic Rigor In 10th Grade?

The efficient way to improve academic rigor in 10th grade is by taking help from an education counselor. A high school education counselor can help you choose your AP/IB/Dual courses, as well as the courses and colleges you are interested in. 

Loading yourself with too many AP/IB courses will not showcase your rigor credits but only poor planning. Preferably, try to focus on maintaining 2 to 3 AP/IB/Dual courses per year. This will help you manage it easily. Do this right and bag a decent academic rigor in 10th grade.

Sections Parents Should Know About Academic Rigor

Most of the time as a parent to do the best for our children, we end up doing it all wrong. It is not only a student's responsibility to improve their academic rigor points. You also need to understand that schools also play a vital role in it. As parents, what you can do is ask the right questions and find a good academically rigorous school.

Here are a few questions listed below that would help you find the right school for your children.

  • What is the approach that the school is following?

  • What are the steps educators take to turn students into thinkers?

  • What is their approach towards teaching-learning to improve the academic rigor of students in the classroom?

  • Is it the quality of the assignment that the educators focus on or the quantity?

  • In what ways does the school push its students to develop skills that will help them succeed in higher grades, college, and beyond?

  • How do they help students to apply their learning to real-world problems? 

These will help you find the right school for your children and give them the opportunity they need to become academically rigorous.

Ways To Cultivate Academically Rigorous Classroom?

According to Dr. Barbara R. Blackburn, academic rigor is defined as creating an environment in which each student is expected to learn at high levels, each student is supported so he or she can learn at high levels, and each student demonstrates learning at high levels. (source: google.com)

If you want to develop rigor in your classroom, let me suggest and list a few things that will help you cultivate an academically rigorous classroom.

  • The first thing first start with building relationships with your students

  • Provide them with options and different assignments 

  • Do not forget to differentiate all the students

  • Challenge them with a different or creative approach

  • Communicate your expectations. 

While having a competitive edge is essential, challenging yourself to maintain an academic rigor is important, but it is also important to sustain a balance. Balancing any two aspects of your life which may vary during different situations will also help you succeed. Last but not least don’t overdo it. Strategize well and spread your challenging courses across different years and above all analyze and know how much is too much.