Happy New Year!


I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the many educators I’ve worked with or heard from this past year and wish you all joyful, thinking classrooms in 2016. There have been several exciting collaborations in 2015 where I’ve been able to refine or develop new resources to share in the coming year.


Here are a few:

  • In New Hampshire, we’re developing K-8 state model competencies in ELA and mathematics based on my Learning Progressions Frameworks.

  • In Utah, I collaborated with an awesome school district to create a 2-hour video and guide for use as a district-facilitated workshop, “Infusing Rigor into Instruction & Assessment” which I will soon be making available to other districts.

  • In Vermont, I’ve been working with several districts to develop and pilot K-8 mathematics and K-12 writing performance tasks. Contact me if you are interested in piloting some of these tasks and collecting student work samples.

  • In South Carolina, I’ve begun working with K-6 classroom teachers and administrators to examine evidence of “rigor in action” using my Looking for Rigor observation tool. I’ll showcase this tool in January at Teachers College Reading Writing Project, co-presenting with Lucy Calkins.


I look forward to many more opportunities to learn with you in 2016. May the force of deeper understanding be with you!


- Dr. Karin Hess



Deep Diving into Learning

Vol.2 No.1  ~  Winter 2016


“Cognitive rigor encompasses the complexity of content, the cognitive engagement with that content, and the depth and scope of the planned learning activities. The Hess Cognitive Rigor Matrix (CRM) is a tool that was developed to enhance assessment planning and instructional practices at the classroom level”

(Hess, Carlock, Jones, & Walkup, 2009).


In this Newsletter


Rigor in the Research

From time to time, I’m contacted by someone engaging in original research exploring rigor, DOK, and deeper learning. This year, I learned of and have become a bit of a “thought partner” with two doctoral students digging into this topic from two interesting perspectives. While still early in their processes, I feel they are exploring topics that will be of interest to many educators and aim to support their research in any way that I can. -> Read More


Student Work to D-I-E for!

6 Ways that Work from Strategically-Designed Performance Tasks Can Improve Assessment Quality, Deepen Learning, and Build Content and Pedagogical Expertise -> Read More




Karin Hess, Ed.D, is a recognized international leader in developing practical approaches for using cognitive rigor and learning progressions as the foundation for formative, interim, and performance assessments.



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© since July 2014 Karin Hess, Ed.D.