Learning Progressions through Diagnostic Assessments

Dr. Gerald Tindal

Published on: October 30, 2023

About a decade ago, we published a technical report on learning progressions. As we note in that report, learning progressions involve building blocks of (sub)skills that students must master, with their assemblage sequenced, and eventually with increased difficulty and complexity that build into a whole. For example, in mathematics, the early subskills for becoming proficient moves from sets (grouping of objects and one-to-one correspondence) to counting, ordering, and eventually to the use of operations and algorithms to solve complex problems. In reading, the subskills involve phonemes, eventually with letters that build words for decoding (which often rely on inconsistent rules) but eventually lead to smooth and fluent reading (with prosody). In this report, we also note that these progressions are not curriculum maps, primarily because students are likely to vary in their own progressions and the rate in which they move through them, most likely in a nonlinear way.

Dr. Gerald Tindal

Dr. Tindal is currently Professor Emeritus and the Director of Behavioral Research and Teaching (BRT) – University of Oregon. He is the former Castle-McIntosh-Knight Professor in the College of Education and past Department Head of Educational Methodology, Policy, and Leadership. His research focuses on alternate assessments, integrating students with disabilities in general education classrooms, curriculum-based measurement for screening students at risk, monitoring student progress, and evaluating instructional programs. Dr. Tindal conducts research on large scale testing and development of alternate assessments. This work includes investigations of teacher decision-making on test participation, test accommodations, and extended assessments of basic skills. He publishes and reviews articles in many special education journals and has written extensively on curriculum-based measurement and large-scale testing. He has also taught scores of courses on assessment systems, data driven decision-making, research design, and program evaluation.

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