Innovative Higher Education

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 215–228 | Cite as

Developing a Student Conception of Academic Rigor

  • John Draeger
  • Pixita del Prado Hill
  • Ronnie Mahler


In this article we describe models of academic rigor from the student point of view. Drawing on a campus-wide survey, focus groups, and interviews with students, we found that students explained academic rigor in terms of workload, grading standards, level of difficulty, level of interest, and perceived relevance to future goals. These findings contrast with our previous research about the faculty conception of academic rigor (Draeger et al. 2013) based on active learning, meaningful content, higher-order thinking, and appropriate expectations. Our new research offers the prospect of increasing the level of academic challenge in ways that resonate with student concerns.


academic rigor academic challenge NSSE student perspectives 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Draeger
    • 1
  • Pixita del Prado Hill
    • 1
  • Ronnie Mahler
    • 1
  1. 1.SUNY Buffalo StateBuffaloUSA

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