Resources on Learning Progressions

We have collected many resources including books, articles, presentations, and professional development materials relating to learning progressions, in general, and Dynamic Language Learning Progressions, in particular.


What Are Learning Progressions?

In recent years, interest in the idea of learning progressions to guide curriculum, instruction and assessment has gained ground, particularly, although not exclusively, in the area of science and mathematics.


In the current literature, learning progressions have been variously defined as:


“…hypothesized descriptions of the successively more sophisticated ways student thinking about an important domain of knowledge or practice develops as children learn about and investigate that domain over an appropriate span of time” (Corcoran, Mosher & Rogat, 2009, p. 37) 


 “…successively more sophisticated ways of thinking about a topic that can be used as templates for the development of curricular and assessment products” (Songer, Kelcey & Gotwals, 2009, pp. 2-3)


 …vertical maps that provide “a description of skills understanding and knowledge in the sequence in which they typically develop: a picture of what it means to ‘improve’ in an area of learning.” (Masters & Forster, 1996, p. 1)


….“a researcher-conjectured, empirically-supported description of the ordered network of constructs a student encounters through instruction (i.e. activities, tasks, tools, forms of interaction and methods of evaluation), in order to move from informal ideas, through successive refinements of representation, articulation, and reflection, towards increasingly complex concepts over time” (Confrey & Maloney, 2010, p. 2)


Inherent in each of the definitions of progressions is that learning is envisioned as a process of progressive sophistication in understanding and skills within a domain, beginning with novice levels and moving through increasingly complex stages of competence. Also implicit in the definitions is that while learning progressions might trace the development of learning, they are not developmentally inevitable. Rather, progress along a progression is dependent on experience and effective instruction.


In the DLLP project, we bring ideas from the field of learning progressions, in general, to children’s development of a range of language functions, for example, beginning with the “novice” explanations students produce in the early years through increasing levels of sophistication in language and discourse as they move through school. Consistent with other research on learning progressions, we take the view that progress in the development of language learning progressions can be supported by effective instruction. To this end, one of the products of the DLLP project will be guidance for teachers on how they can use the language learning progression for instructional purposes and assessment purposes to increase students’ competence with respect to particular language functions for learning and supporting linguistic features.