Jacob J. Walker's Blog

Scholarly Thoughts, Research, and Journalism for Informal Peer Review

Quote of the Day: “Too often rigor is confused with rigor mortis.”

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Too often rigor is confused with rigor mortis.

I would not be surprised if there were others who came up with this wordplay, especially given how often the U.S. education system uses the word “rigor” without really always knowing what it means.   But, the first time I could find a book that had a quote comparing how schools often beat a subject to death was in a 1967 edition of the California Journal for Instructional Improvement. There is also similar quote by Phillip C. Schlechty, in his 2001 book, Shaking Up the Schoolhouse.

I am sharing it this week, as part of my loose series on quality improvement quotes.  “Rigor” (or Rigour in English English 🙂 is one of the key measurements of quality in education, yet if we can’t define it well, how do we hope to improve it?  (For example, see the current garbled mess of a definition at Wikipedia)  The term is an easy thing to say that gives an air of being deep, but really often leaves education more shallow than before.   I will be talking more about this in the future, but you’ll have to wait for my “Real Rigor Manifesto”.


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Written by Jacob Walker

December 20th, 2013 at 11:59 am

Posted in Quotes from Others

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