Learning Progressions in Science Education

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  Recently, learning progressions have taken a more prominent role in the national discussion on science education. With the arrival of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), teachers are beginning to hear more about learning progressions and how they can support their teaching and student learning. To prepare for this change it is helpful to understand what learning progressions are and how they are developed.

Learning progressions describe the path students may take as they work towards mastery of a scientific concept. Developed through extensive observation, learning progressions move away from assumptions about how students learn. Instead, student work, interviews, and other data sources are used to generate a picture of how students learn over time. By focusing on the actual ideas students start with and how these ideas change, it is possible to improve teaching and learning.

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Resources for Learning Progressions in Science Education
In many ways, the work developing learning progressions has just begun. While the number of resources are expanding quickly, there are few well-tested and -developed learning progressions available to science teachers. The list below is intended to provide a starting point on available progressions and the rationale behind their use.