Learnerati offers a unique form of the curriculum audit. The "Standards and Cognitive Rigor Report" (SCR Report) which focuses on classroom implementation over broader policy and procedure. This approach investigates how curriculum is used as an instructional tool within the overall student learning experience.
Understanding curriculum usage within classrooms represents a challenging task. Often the curriculum implemented within classrooms various from that stated in curriculum maps, pacing calendars, and course outlines. The mixture of official curriculum, supplemental materials, and locally crafted lessons creates a complex layering of content presented to students.
Curriculum analysis drills down into the materials used within classrooms during instruction. This curricular forensics approach extracts significant elements from within assignments given to students. These elements form the core for evidence of instruction that identifies the focus of instruction in terms of topics, concepts, and supporting skills. Since the design of content standards center on topics, concepts, and skills the correlation between elements identified within assignments and the standards remains tightly coupled.
Tracking the identified content standards and their respective usage attributes from collected assignments creates a curricular profile unique to classroom instruction. The topics, concepts, and skills identified demonstrate the instructional focus of each classroom at that time. The usage attributes of Bloom's Taxonomy, Webb's depth-of-knowledge, and item counts show the variety in targeted thinking skills and overall importance given to each during instruction. These curricular profiles provide excellent measures for reviewing progress against curriculum maps, pacing guides, and course outlines.
However, the curricular profiles offer a richer view into how these assignments affect student learning. Since there is more to learning than a list of standards, the associated cognitive rigor tied to each identified standard provides some compelling insight into the academic expectations of student assignments. Learning requires a student to process, manipulate, and re-purpose information in order to gain greater levels of understanding. Cognitive rigor excels in describing the interplay between the organizational complexity of assignments and the inherent thinking skills used to complete the assignments.