Our teachers and staff use the “Rigorous Curriculum Design Cycle” to approach curriculum work.  Read more about it below!

What is the Rigorous Curriculum Design Cycle?

The Rigorous Curriculum Design Cycle (RCDC) is a curriculum framework that was developed by Larry Ainsworth.  The cycle supports building units that are standards based and embeds the assessment for learning cycle. 

In its December 2014 presentation to the Board of Education, the district Academics Committee described RCDC as "a set of intentionally aligned components, organized into sequenced units of study, that serve as both a detailed road map and the high quality delivery system for ensuring that all students achieve the desired learning."

In his book Rigorous Curriculum Design, Ainsworth describes the cycle this way:

Think of this design model as a road map- a practical pathway to a clear destination with opportunities to stop along the way for further information and course correction, as needed.

This road map needs to present…a detailed structure and pace to follow…with a flexible framework.

Why is our district using this framework?

In 2011 our district committed to using RCDC to guide and document curriculum work because:

  • it supports implementation of best practices including standards-based units, formative assessments, and differentiated instruction; these support student learning and teacher professional growth
  • the use of a common structure and language provides building blocks for team collaboration
  • templates and related documents can be used to communicate our curriculum to students, parents, and the larger community
  • it supports district Strategic Plan Goals including:
    • utilizing the Rigorous Curriculum Design Cycle in order to create essential questions, learning activities and assessments that promote critical thinking
    • utilizing  the Rigorous Curriculum Design Cycle in order to create essential questions, learning activities, and assessments that promote 21st century learning skills 
    • utilizing the Rigorous Curriculum Design Cycle to ensure the Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, IL Early Learning and Development Standards, National Core Arts Standards, National Physical Education Standards, etc. drive curriculum and instruction in ELA, math, and science and other content areas
    • reviewing and evaluating implementation of national standards and Common Core literacy standards for improved alignment and robust programming
    • participating in the assessment for learning cycle to develop common assessments in order to show student growth
    • consistently participating in the assessment for learning cycle so that educators may best respond to and meet student learning needs

What are the expectations for utilizing RCDC?

In Skokie District 73.5, RCDC work includes the following components:

Teachers and teams are provided with templates to document this work.  We look forward to sharing some of these with the community later this year!

What district systems and practices does RCDC relate to and/or support?

The RCDC process should help us organize our work to support the systems and practices listed below. 

  • Assessment for Learning
  • National standards including: CCSS, NGSS, C3, IED, National Arts Standards, National PE Standards
  • Standards referenced report cards
  • Multi-tiered system of support (MTSS)
  • Differentiation
  • Teaming for teachers