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Topic: "Learning progressions - ready for prime time?"

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Topic started by: Brian Drayton on 10/23/13

The NRC describes learning progressions as "empirically grounded and testable hypotheses about how students' understanding of, and ability to use, core scientific concepts...and related science practices grow and become more sophisticated over time, with appropriate instruction."

Some version of learning progressions underlies both the Common Core math standards, and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). They shape both the sequence and the description of content and practice standards, and it is hoped they will foster a more integrated, flexible, and usable understanding of STEM.

The progressions are, of course, also intended to support instructional planning and design -- in curriculum, assessment, and pedagogy.

But some who have thought deeply about the question, and conducted research on progressions, raise some concerns -- Richard Shavelson sees potential in the idea, and peril in the way that the idea is being implemented in reform planning, as he believes prematurely (Reflections on learning progressions). David Hammer, well known in the MSP community, has also questioned the strength of the empirical base, and also some basic assumptions about the value of the progressions as a guide for teaching and assessment: What do we really mean by "sophistication?" Does learning progress in the orderly fashion envisioned by the progressions? (A critique of how learning progressions research conceptualizes sophistication and progress)
Both scholars question whether enough is yet known about individual cases of learning across "levels" to make progressions useful in instruction (whether in the classroom, or in teacher PD).

How are you using learning progressions in your work with teachers? How are they using them in the classroom? Are these "progressions" or "trajectories" different from "scope and sequence" schemes of the past? Are they helping? If not, what are you seeing?

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How do you encounter progressions in your work?

posted by: Brian Drayton on 10/30/2013 3:46 pm

How are you using learning progressions in your work with teachers?
How are they using them in the classroom?
Are these "progressions" or "trajectories" different from "scope and sequence" schemes of the past?
Are they helping? I
f not, what are you seeing?