Comparing Faculty and Student Models of Academic Rigor

By Ronnie E. Mahler, John Draeger and Pixita del Prado Hill.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Educational Studies

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The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is used in the US to measure the level of academic challenge on a given campus. Faced with an institutional mandate to increase academic rigor on our campus, a cross-disciplinary research group formed to study how this might be achieved. Results from a campus-wide survey of faculty and focus group interviews yielded a multidimensional model of academic rigor, including active learning, meaningful content, higher-order thinking, and appropriate expectations. In the next phase, the group considered academic rigor from the student point of view. Results from a campus-wide survey of students and focus group interviews yielded student conceptions of academic rigor that diverge in important respects from the faculty model. Elements of academic rigor identified by the students include interest in and difficulty of the material, workload, grading standards, active learning and the value of learning to their lives in the “real world.” This paper compares the nature of academic rigor from the faculty and student points of view.

Keywords: Academic Rigor, Student Perception, Faculty Perception

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Educational Studies, Volume 8, Issue 1, November 2014, pp.31-41. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 364.571KB).

Dr. Ronnie E. Mahler

Associate Professor, Department of Social Work, State University of New York Buffalo State, Buffalo, New York, USA

Dr. John Draeger

Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, State University of New York Buffalo State, Buffalo, New York, USA

Dr. Pixita del Prado Hill

Associate Professor, Department of Elementary Education and Reading, State University of New York Buffalo State, Buffalo, New York, USA