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                   Books by Karin Hess -
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Elevating Competency-Based Learning in a PLC at Work: Actionable Assessment, Defensible Evidence, Equitable Grading (Hess, Stack, & Vander Els (2025, Solution Tree)

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Rigor by Design, Not Chance: Deeper Thinking Through Actionable Instruction & Assessment (Hess, 2023, ASCD). Watch a video excerpt on cognitive science and engagement.

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The Kid-Friendly "Rock the Rigor" Poster Set is NO LONGER AVAILABLE FOR SALE!

The good news is you can now download them for free!

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The Rigor by Design Playbook (2021 flip book)

The updated 20-page "flip book" is printed on heavy cardstock for long-lasting use. It provides an overview of the development of the Hess CRM, all 8 content-specific Hess CRMs, and illustrates how the roles of students and teachers can shift with appropriate questioning and learning activities that move from surface learning to deeper understanding. Also included:

  • 7 Common Misconceptions about Rigor

  • Unit/Lesson Planning Template with Teacher & Student Roles by DOK level

  • Karin's Overview of the Actionable Assessment Cycle

  • Updated classroom examples of strategic scaffolding strategies by DOK level

  • The S-T-A-R-S Performance Task Design Tool

This is a great resource for PLC teams, coaches, and assessment leaders who want handy access to all 8 Hess Cognitive Rigor Matrices, a guide to classroom “look fors,” and support strategies at each DOK level.

Download an order form here.

Two of Karin's Most Popular Workshops Are Now Part of Her 2025 "Hands-On" Book, Applying Depth of Knowledge and Cognitive Rigor: An Educator's Guide to Supporting Deeper Learning

Are your students thinking deeply, or just working harder?

Use this video workshop to learn on your own time or to support locally designed workshops for your staff when introducing Depth of Knowledge and the Hess Cognitive Rigor Matrix. Karin’s original 2-hour presentation, with UT educators, is broken into segments with opportunities to “turn & talk” and spark collaborative discussions about DOK, rigor, common misconceptions, and deeper learning.

Student Work to D-I-E For!

What can we lean form analyzing student work?

For many years, Karin has used the acronym D-I-E to make the student work analysis process more meaningful: First Describe what you actually see/hear; next Interpret what the student does/does not understand as revealed in the evidence; and finally, Evaluate next steps based on your intended purpose (e.g., examining task quality, developing/refining the rubric, next steps for instruction, etc.). The video segments are from Karin’s original presentation working with VT teachers. Viewers are guided through using Karin's PLC Tool #12, analyzing student work samples.

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