Rethinking what is "developmentally appropriate" from a learning progression perspective: The power and the challenge

Review of Science, Mathematics and ICT Education 01/2009;
Source: DOAJ

ABSTRACT Learning progressions have recently become increasingly visible in studies of learning and instruction in science. In this essay, I explore the power and considerable challenges in rethinking what may be developmentally appropriate for young children's learning science from the perspective of learning progressions. In particular, I examine the issues of: a) the design of promising learning progressions within the vast design space of potential progressions; b) identification of cognitive resources relevant to a progression; c) analysis of effort / payoff for particular competencies at different points in the progression; d) attribution of cognitive limitations and achievements; e) coordination and collaboration needed to support the design, utilization, and refinement of the learning progression; and f) absence of straightforward correspondence between a learning progression and trajectories of different children's knowledge-development.

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    • "Another issue concerns the criteria we use to determine age appropriate or developmentally appropriate progressions; that is, is the proposed topic and pathway accessible to the learner. Metz (2009) cogently argues that we need a rethinking of 'developmentally appropriate' when adopting a learning progression perspective, children are more capable than we think. "
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    ABSTRACT: Our paper is an analytical review of the design, development and reporting of learning progressions and teaching sequences. Research questions are: (1) what criteria are being used to propose a ‘hypothetical learning progression/trajectory’ and (2) what measurements/evidence are being used to empirically define and refine a ‘hypothetical learning progression/trajectory’? Publications from five topic areas are examined: teaching sequences, teaching experiments, didaktiks, learning trajectories in mathematics education and learning progressions in science education. The reviewed publications are drawn from journal special issues, conference reports and monographs. The review is coordinated around four frameworks of Learning Progressions (LP): conceptual domain, disciplinary practices, assessment/measurement and theoretical/guiding conceptions. Our findings and analyses show there is a distinction between the preferred learning pathways that focus on ‘Evolutionary LP’ models and the less preferred but potentially good LP starting place curriculum coherence focused ‘Validation LP’ models. We report on the respective features and characteristics for each.
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