Learning Progressions

Definition 

A sequence of skill- and content-oriented building blocks that students master as part of the progression towards mastery of a larger Learning Goal or Objective. Students move through a progression over time (sometimes within a course or module, sometimes across years, courses or modules.

Features 

  • Timely Support

Designer's Tips 

Within Mastery Learning, this definition is narrowing to refer specifically to building-blocks that have been tested by research (of which there are far fewer than the more broadly defined progressions that are also often described as Learning Targets. In thinking about the design of a mastery learning system, Learning Progressions and Targets are typically articulated late in the design process as they aren't essential to a launch. Over time, research-based Progressions will be more available, making this more of an adoption process than a design process. This collection of resources provides insight into the distinctions and relationship between Learning Progressions, Learning Targets and Learning Objectives. These terms are often used interchangeably, but actually describe critically different (and highly related) aspects of learning work students will undertake in a well-designed Mastery Learning System.

Tips for a Short Implementation Time-Line 

With a short time-line we suggest yoou begin small: train teachers in what these are, and have them begin to map them once they have identified the Performance Tasks they will use.
Curated Resources: This collection of resources from the field includes models and exemplars, as well as “DIY” guidance to facilitate your exploration of this term. 

Great Schools Partnership: Assessment Verification

Description 

In this section of the Great Schools Partnership website, district and school designers will find guidance on what to assess, how to assess it, and how to verify and report student proficiency in relation to standards. Given that many mastery learning schools often struggle with the purpose of homework and how to structure it, the GSP' tool on how to use homework in a proficiency-based environment may prove particularly helpful.

Resource Type 

  • Tool

Publishing Organization 

Great Schools Partnership

Type of Organization 

  • Non-Profit

Terms 

Performance-Based Grading
Proficiency-Based Grading
Grade-Level Descriptors
Grade-Level Expectations
Grade-Level Indicators
Performance-Level Indicators
Performance Indicators
Rating System
Grading & Reporting System
Learning Progressions
Learning Targets

Progress and Proficiency: Redesigning Grading for Competency Education

Description 

This iNACOL Issue Brief provides an overview of grading in a competency-based system. Readers will find that this Brief identifies problems with traditional grading systems, explores alternatives, presents lessons from the field, and offers a glimpse of reforms on the leading edge. It is a helpful resource for practitioners working to understand the landscape as a whole.

Authors 

Chris Sturgis

Resource Type 

  • Report

Publishing Organization 

iNACOL

Type of Organization 

  • Non-Profit

Terms 

Performance-Based Grading
Proficiency-Based Grading
Grade-Level Descriptors
Grade-Level Expectations
Grade-Level Indicators
Performance-Level Indicators
Performance Indicators
Rating System
Grading & Reporting System
Learning Progressions
Learning Targets

Casco Bay High School: Universal Habits of Work Rubric

Description 

Part of Casco Bay (Maine) High School's mastery-learning framework is the use of a rubric to assess student Habits of Work in 3 categories: work ethic, citizenship, and collaboration. See NMEF's "Making Mastery Work" and Springpoint's "Inside Mastery-Based High Schools: Profiles & Conversations" for a description of CBHS's practice and approach.

Resource Type 

  • School-Developed Resources

Publishing Organization 

Casco Bay High School

Type of Organization 

  • School or District

Terms 

Rating System
Scoring Rubrics
Learning Progressions
Learning Targets

Do Learning Progressions Have to Be Linear?

Description 

This blog explores the dynamic tension between teaching backwards from a big-theme idea through a carefully planned learning progressions and the way students often learn, which can be messy, iterative, and frustratingly non-linear.

Authors 

Caroline Messenger

Resource Type 

  • Blog Post

Publishing Organization 

CompetencyWorks

Type of Organization 

  • Non-Profit

Terms 

Learning Progressions
Learning Targets

ELA Learning Progression Framework

Description 

The English-Language Arts Learning Progression Framework is designed to help educators make the shift to the Common Core State Standards. It helps teachers and curriculum designers to organize and sequence lessons to align with the CCSS.

Authors 

Karin Hess, Jacqui Kearns

Resource Type 

  • Document

Publishing Organization 

NAAC Partners, NCIEA

Type of Organization 

  • Non-Profit

Terms 

Learner Profiles
Learning Progressions
Learning Targets

Math Learning Progression Framework

Description 

The Math Learning Progression Framework is designed to help educators make the shift to the Common Core State Standards. It helps teachers and curriculum designers to organize and sequence lessons to align with the CCSS.

Authors 

Karin Hess, Jacqui Kearns

Resource Type 

  • Tool

Publishing Organization 

NAAC Partners, NCIEA

Type of Organization 

  • Non-Profit

Terms 

Learner Profiles
Learning Progressions
Learning Targets

RSU2: Capacity Matrix: Social Studies Example

Description 

This is a roadmap for students, making it clear what they need to accomplish in order to reach proficiency. Assignments can be personalized for students, either by teachers or students. See Springpoint's "Inside Mastery-Based High Schools: Profiles & Conversations" for a description of RSU2's practice and approach.

Resource Type 

  • School-Developed Resources

Publishing Organization 

RSU2

Type of Organization 

  • School or District

Terms 

Learning Progressions
Learning Targets

RSU2: Meaurement Topic Key: Research Sample

Description 

These are proficiency indicators and assessments for measuring a research topic. See Springpoint's "Inside Mastery-Based High Schools: Profiles & Conversations" for a description of RSU2's practice and approach.

Resource Type 

  • School-Developed Resources

Publishing Organization 

RSU2

Type of Organization 

  • School or District

Terms 

Learning Progressions
Learning Targets

The Lowdown on Learning Progressions

Description 

In this article, author W. James Popham provides an introduction to learning progressions, the laying out the hows, whys, and challenges of creating and using them.

Authors 

W. James Popham

Resource Type 

  • Blog Post

Publishing Organization 

Educational Leadership

Type of Organization 

  • Non-Profit

Terms 

Learning Progressions
Learning Targets

Using Learning Progressions to Monitor Progress Across Grades: A science-inquiry learning profiles for preK-4 students

Description 

Though this article addresses early elementary learning progressions, its usefulness is in its framing of the role that learning progressions can play in providing valuable information about students' learning. Figure 1,"A learning progression for science observation," is a useful tool for understanding the more practical implications of learning progressions.

Authors 

Karin Hess

Resource Type 

  • Article or News Story

Publishing Organization 

Science & Children, Feb. 2010

Type of Organization 

  • Non-Profit

Terms 

Learner Profiles
Learning Progressions
Learning Targets

Todd County Learning Targets: Mastery Learning in a High School Math Classroom

Description 

This video offers an unusually detailed view of a teacher using learning targets in a competency-based setting. Among the nuggets are how she helps students decide when they are ready to take a shot at demonstrating proficiency on a particular set of standards through some type of evidence.

Authors 

Jessica Addison

Resource Type 

  • Video

Publishing Organization 

Todd County, Kentucky

Type of Organization 

  • School or District

Terms 

Demonstrations
Formative Assessment
Asynchronous Learning
Flexibly-Paced Learning
Grouping Plan
Learning Progressions
Learning Targets