How to make micro-progressions

What exactly is a “micro-progression?” you may ask.

A micro-progression is a new student advocacy tool my instructional coach picked up from a session at CCIRA. This tool allows students to self-evaluate and improve their written responses in any subject area. Let me explain.

My building is using this tool in Math and Literacy. It can be incorporated into any subject, really.  To start, have students write a short written response to any question you may ask. Give them 5 minutes, or so, to write their responses. Collect.

As a team or grade level, look through your set of written responses. Other team members will do the same. Each classroom teacher then picks their lowest quality written response and their highest quality written response. As a group, look at the lowest response from each group. Determine which response is the lowest. Lay this on the table. Then determine from the group, which is the best quality., This is the other end of the spectrum. Then discuss the other papers in the group, deciding which paper would be the second lowest, the one next to this but a bit better, and so on. Move along the continuum until you have the highest level of writing. You should now have a continuum, or progression of quality writing, or a micro-progression.

Document in writing the lowest paper (score a 0) and copy the response, leaving the name out. Then determine which paper along the line would be a score of a “1”, then a “2”, a “3” and a “4” (or whatever the scoring system is you use).

Write the responses on a document, with the qualifiers for each “level”, clearly defined.

Glue/staple/adhere these onto a long sheet of paper, either vertical or horizontal.

Laminate. Hang in classroom.

Students look at the continuum, when they need to evaluate their writing: where along the continuum do they fall for their first piece of writing? As you continue this, refer them to the micro-progression chart, letting them know they have to improve their written response to the next level up for themselves…for their next written piece. Revise the chart periodically as you see fit and as time dictates another revision.

I have students write a “glow and grow” on their paper: 1 way to improve for the next assignment. and what did they write that was terrific!

This is very powerful!

Here are some photos of students in action at the micro-progression chart. They can’t argue with what constitutes a “4” or a “2” or why they scored a “1”.

img_4078  img_4079

Students are placing their papers up to the micro-progression; determining where they fall.

A wonderful tool and opportunity for students to grow themselves with their accountability!

Happy writing and happy accountability!


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