Te Arapiki Ako
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The structure of the progressions

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Last updated 26 October 2012 15:29 by NZTecAdmin

The strands

A strand of thread is made up of many individual fibres. In the same way, each strand of the learning progressions is made up of several progressions, which together describe the development of expertise within the strand. The learning progressions for numeracy are organised in the following four strands:

  • Listen with Understanding
  • Speak to Communicate
  • Read with Understanding
  • Write to Communicate.

The strands are interconnected. For example, learners listen to the sounds in the words they say in order to read and write those words.

The progressions

The term progression is used to describe a set of steps along a continuum, each step representing a significant learning stage as learners build their expertise. Each progression highlights a particular area of learning within a strand. The progressions are intended to illustrate a typical learning pathway.3 The titles of the progressions are listed below:

Listen with Understanding

Vocabulary progression
Language and Text Features progression
Comprehension progression
Listening Critically progression
Interactive Listening and Speaking progression

Speak to Communicate

Vocabulary progression
Language and Text Features progression
Using Strategies to Communicate progression
Interactive Listening and Speaking progression

Read with Understanding

Decoding progression
Vocabulary progression
Language and Text Features progression
Comprehension progression
Reading Critically progression

Write to Communicate

Purpose and Audience progression
Spelling progression
Vocabulary progression
Language and Text Features progression
Planning and Composing progression
Revising and Editing progression

A progression implies a continuous, sequential movement towards expertise rather than a series of separate tasks to be mastered in order to “move up”. For this reason, individual steps within a progression are distinguished from one another in this book by referring to their place in the sequence (for example, “the second step in the Additive Strategies progression”) rather than by using numbers, stages or levels. The learning progressions reflect the way all learners continually build on and extend their existing knowledge and skills.

The progressions are also interconnected. For example, a wide vocabulary is needed for learning in all the progressions in reading, writing, speaking and listening.

The steps

Development within any one progression is not evenly spaced and some of the shifts in development involve more learning than others. The amount of learning needed will also depend on the learner. Adults do not all learn in the same way. Some need to spend more time learning certain skills, or consolidating the learning, than others do.

For each progression, the steps towards expertise in that progression are represented by pikopiko that have increasing numbers of fronds. The initial learning step is represented by a single koru, the next step by a pikopiko with two fronds and so on. The final step is represented in most cases by a pikopiko with six fronds.

The koru (in its mature forms, the pikopiko) was chosen as the symbol for the steps in each progression because it is a familiar and valued image for New Zealanders and because its natural and gradually unfolding growth pattern could be seen to reflect the process of successful learning, or ako. As fronds mature, new fronds begin to grow, nourished and sheltered by the work of the existing fronds, the plant’s root system and a favourable environment. Pikopiko is an indigenous food picked directly from ngahere (the forest) that can give and sustain life. In the same way, ako can give and sustain intellectual and spiritual life.

The steps vary in size and quantity from one progression to another. This variation is because the writers have tried to show steps at parallel stages of a typical learner’s development across all the progressions. The steps do not, however, all involve the same amount of learning, and the development of skills, strategies and knowledge does not always occur in evenly sized or spaced steps.

In the reading and writing strands, for example, only one progression (the Decoding progression) has six separate steps. In all of the other reading and writing progressions, there are some double steps (the movement in the progression is shown over two steps), because the learning described by the bullet points takes time to develop, consolidate and practise. This is considered to be the equivalent of two steps in a progression.

A different kind of variation occurs in places where the learning in one progression depends on prior learning in another. For example, learners cannot begin to use language and text features in their writing until they have gained familiarity with written words and sentences and the basic purposes of written texts – learning which occurs at the first step in other writing progressions. Because of this, there is a gap at the first step in the writing progressions for Language and Text Features.

3 Although no adult learner is ever completely typical, there are typical patterns of progress common to the majority of adult learners.


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