Campus Units

Education, School of

Document Type

Article

Publication Version

Accepted Manuscript

Publication Date

3-9-2018

Journal or Book Title

New Directions for Higher Education

Volume

2018

Issue

181

First Page

11

Last Page

23

DOI

10.1002/he.20267

Abstract

What is “hard” about college? The concept of academic rigor has been remarkably narrowly defined in contemporary higher education. Rigor is often equated with hard work in terms of the number of hours students spend studying or the quantity of assignments—or “piling on” a lot of work for students (Arum & Roksa, 2011). Alternatively, as derived from the recent K–12 standards movement in the No Child Left Behind act, rigor may be seen as an advanced level of curriculum (achieving mastery of prespecified content; for example, less rigorous algebra versus more rigorous calculus) (Matusevich, O'Connor, & Hargett, 2009). Yet, if we ask students what was “hard” about college academics—many other understandings may emerge—perhaps what was “hard” was maintaining one's identity while learning material that does not align with one's cultural values. Perhaps what was “challenging” was shifting basic assumptions that have been a core part of an individual’s experiences. Or, perhaps, the “rigor” was learning scholarly writing in a second language. Perhaps what was “hard” was learning to move from memorizing facts to analyzing and evaluating them—becoming a producer and interpreter rather than a consumer of information. Perhaps what was “hard” was coming to see oneself as an academic. All of these can be seen as a challenge of the academic experience at college—and resolving each of these challenges has been associated with student learning (Braxton, 1993; Castillo‐Montoya, 2017; Castillo‐Montoya & Torres‐Guzmán, 2012; Fries‐Britt, Johnson, & Burt, 2013; Neumann, 2014).

Comments

This accepted article is published as Campbell, C.A., Dortch, D., & Burt, B.A. (2018). Reframing rigor: Challenge and support in the modern higher education classroom. New Directions for Higher Education; 2018(181); 11-23. Doi: 10.1002/he.20267. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

Wiley Online Library

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

Available for download on Monday, March 09, 2020

Published Version

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