Context-Dependent “Upper Anchors” for Learning Progressions
In the spirit of model revision, researchers continue to refine the notion of a learning progression. Despite many advances in learning progressions research, one key design element has eluded scholarly critique, the upper anchor. Drawing on science education research and studies of science, this essay argues for a shift from the predominant model of the upper anchor as the fixed, “most sophisticated” way of thinking toward a more expansive “upper reach” that acknowledges plurality and context-dependence in ways of knowing. Three possible models for context-dependent upper reaches are offered.
I thank three anonymous reviewers, the journal editors, David Hammer, Victoria Winters, and Binyu Yang for very helpful feedback on the manuscript. An early version of this essay was presented at the March 2018 Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching in Atlanta, GA.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. (1439819).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The author declares no conflict of interest.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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