Tennessee Curriculum Center

STEM Education Apps for Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction

STEM Education Apps for Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction


Definition: Learning Progression. A representative set of incremental and interconnected stages in an individual’s development of understanding about a specific concept or topic that, over time, evolves toward increasingly complex ways of thinking.

Proof Points…

When states first developed their curriculum standards in the 1990’s, they were typically organized into grade spans. The goal was to allow curriculum flexibility with the idea that a student was expected to understand the concept, “By the End of Grade…” The general guide for the grade placement of standards within grade bands was perceived beliefs within the content community about when and how the big ideas of a discipline unfolded. State and national standards were in turn used by educators to develop aligned curriculum frameworks and later, accountability systems.

In light of current information being derived from cognitive research, the sequential arrangement of topics and concepts that are embedded in broad standards is being rethought. These ideas are now being mapped into learning progressions, webs of interconnected ideas that illustrate how over time, student’s ideas deepen and become more sophisticated and do so in predictable ways. Research-based learning progressions enable us to reframe how we think about Standards and Learning Expectations for students and to view them from a long-range perspective. Similar progressive changes in what people are capable of doing are also being plotted.

Applying novice to expert learning progressions as a framework for organizing the K-16 curriculum is consistent with research showing that deep and lasting learning occurs best: 1. over time, 2. through repeated and scaffolded exposures to concepts, and 3. when encountered in a variety of educational contexts.

The Way It Works…

The idea of using information drawn from research-based learning progressions as a framework for supporting substantive STEM curriculum reform is rapidly gaining acceptance. A student’s knowledge base expands as they become increasingly able to make logical cognitive connections between different but related concepts. By cognitive connections we mean relationships among ideas in which knowledge of one concept contributes to understanding other larger ideas. Within a learning progression, clusters of interrelated ideas become increasingly sophisticated across grade levels and subject areas. The following table offers a research based perspective on the development of students’ ideas about sinking and floating. The metaphor of a ladder of understanding illustrates why the mastery of precursor ideas and skills introduced in earlier courses and grade levels is essential for making the type of cognitive leaps that results in a deep and flexible understanding of the central concepts within a discipline.

Ladder of Understanding

Rung

What Student Knows about Why Things Sink and Float

Ladder

Top

Knows how relative density affects floating and sinking in different liquids.

6

Knows how density affects floating and sinking in water.

5

Knows how the relationship of mass to volume affects floating and sinking.

4

Knows how volume affects floating and sinking when mass is held constant.

3

Knows that mass affects floating and sinking when volume is held constant.

2

Has productive misconceptions about why things sink or float.

1

Has basic misconceptions about why things sink or float.

Bottom

Shows no understanding of why things sink or float.

 

The Learning Progressions in STEMresources.com were based solely on Tennessee’s K-High School Learning Expectations. No claim is made that these organized sequences of concepts were or will be validated by research. The K-High School Learning Progressions found in STEMresources.com were developed to help districts design science and mathematics curriculum frameworks that are generally consistent with what is known about how students learn and aligned assessment systems. Vertically coherent sets of learning experiences support heightened student readiness for learning that incorporates the key elements of STEM education…problem-solving and inquiry.

References…

Learning Progressions in Science Conference

Learning Progressions in Science: An Evidence-based Approach to Reform

Taking Science to School: Learning and Teaching Science in Grades K-8


The Science and Mathematics User’s Guides provide an overview of the Tennessee Curriculum Framework for these two subject areas that become effective during the 2009-10 school year. They include timely information that will enable you to understand how and why the standards were modified from the previous version. Both User’s Guides describe the major features of the revised standards, provide a rationale for changes, and identify the potential implications for science and mathematics instruction. They also include comparative analyses of the rigor between the previous and current versions of the standards and alignment data for National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and ACT.

The two User’s Guides are somewhat different. In the Mathematics Guide you will find a careful comparison of the content of the earlier and current curriculum framework, detailed information from a Webb’s Level of Knowledge analysis, and extensive Vocabulary in Focus materials. The Science User’s Guide has K- high school Learning Progressions to help districts map their curriculum, a description of Tennessee’s vision for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education, and an overview of Tennessee’s Next Generation Tools for STEM Education resource that is available to all members of the K-16 Science and Mathematics education community.

NOTE: Each of the documents below were created in Microsoft Excel. Toggle the tabs at the bottom of each document to view all of the sheets.

Subcategories

  • Science User's Guide

  • Mathematics User's Guide

  • Curriculum Maps and Pacing Guides

    Welcome to the Tennessee Department of Education’s (TDOE) Curriculum Center. The Department, in conjunction with the First to the Top initiative, embarked on the preparation of a dual purpose Pacing Guide framework and associated Pacing Guide resources. The Curriculum Center’s Pacing Guide component elaborates and extends the TDOE’s current Curriculum Frameworks. The resource collections enable local districts to supplement baseline materials provided by the state with resources linked directly to specific student Learning Expectations.

    In developing this two-pronged approach for considering how curriculum should actually be delivered in classrooms, the TDOE content area coordinators relied on the recommendations and accepted practices of curriculum mapping experts and practitioners from across the state. The resulting materials provide clear guidance and suggestions intended to help local districts developed their own Curriculum Maps, enhanced Pacing Guides, and resource libraries.

  • English/Language Arts Framework Overview

    The following sections describe the web page structure that users follow to probe the English/Language Arts Curriculum website. This explanation will enable teachers to maximize the impact of their English/Language Arts instruction based on tools and resources available at the TCC. Wherever possible, explanations are given to provide the optimum context for navigating the Framework. Website visitors can visit these pages to locate or contribute materials to the collection. The dynamic nature of these resource repositories makes them the backbone of the TCC professional user community.

  • Science Framework Overview

    Welcome to the Tennessee Science Curriculum Center. The following information describes the specific web pages that comprise the Science Curriculum website framework. These explanations will enable teachers to maximize the impact of science instruction based on the tools and resources found at this website.

  • Mathematics Framework Overview

    These sections describe the web page structure that users follow to explore the Mathematics Curriculum website. This explanation will enable teachers to maximize the impact of their Mathematics instruction based on tools and resources available at the TCC. Wherever possible, explanations are given to provide the optimum context for navigating the Framework. Website visitors can visit these pages to locate or contribute materials to the collection. The dynamic nature of these resource repositories makes them the backbone of the TCC professional user community.

  • Guide to the Common Core/Tennessee Crosswalk

    The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English Language Arts and Mathematics establish a set of expectations for student knowledge and skills that will result in high school graduates who are prepared for success in college and careers. Common Core State Standards provide a clear and consistent vision of what students are expected to learn, so that teachers and parents understand what must happen to help students reach these goals.

    The CCSS are rigorous and relevant to the real world, and identify widely-held beliefs about the knowledge and skills that young learners need for success. CCSS are based on a spiral curriculum structure where similar topics are encountered over successive years, but at increasing levels of difficulty or sophistication. As students move from grade to grade, key content and skills are revisited at greater depth and breadth of coverage. Research findings from the study of learning progressions provided the conceptual framework for the grade placement of the Common Core Standards. This area of research aspires to accurately describe how students learn content knowledge, skills, and conceptual understanding over time.

    The CCSS Initiative has been a state-led project coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers to establish a set of educational standards for English/Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics shared by states across the country. Currently, 45 states, including Tennessee, have officially adopted these standards. As part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act waiver granted to the state in early 2012, Tennessee expects to fully implement the Common Core State Standards in the 2013-14 school year: a full year ahead of the original implementation timeline.