What are learning progressions?

Learning progressions define a coherent and continuous pathway along which students move incrementally through states of increasing competence. Every incremental state builds on and integrates the previous one as students accrue new levels of expertise with each successive step in the progression.

How are they helpful?

A learning progression:

  • Supports each student’s K-12 journey
  • Identifies which skills to teach
  • Answers the question, “What’s next?”

Renaissance learning progressions also feature:

  • A teachable order of skills in context of your state’s standards
  • Focus Skills at key points in the development path
  • Data-based guidelines for personalizing instruction
  • Ideas for teaching skills, including emerging bilinguals support
parent and child

How are learning progressions developed?


Build initial set of skills based on a survey of research literature, expert consultation, and analysis of state and national standards.


Calibrated items to determine skill difficulty and to empirically validate the order of skills.


Consulted Dr. Margaret Heritage, Dr. Karin Hess, and Dr. James Milgram.


Continue to consult experts and refresh data annually to ensure precision.

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Built for your state standards

Star Assessments assess a wide variety of skills across multiple domains in reading, math, and early literacy. Item development is skill-specific. Each item in the item bank is developed for and clearly aligned to one skill. An item meets the alignment criteria if the knowledge and skill required to correctly answer the item match the intended knowledge and skill. Renaissance follows a rigorous process to ensure the assessment measures what it is intended to measure.


Capture the full hierarchy of the standards and ancillary documentation to ensure full interpretation of the standards.


Identify the skills inherent in the standards. Study horizontal and vertical alignment of the standard in relationship to other domains and grades.


Develop skill statements to represent the intent of the standards.


Place the skills in a teachable order that reflects how students learn and traverses domains as teaching would naturally occur.

Learn more about Renaissance learning progressions

Watch this webinar and discover how learning progressions map the path forward for all students, balance the teachable order of skills with your state’s requirements, and show pre-requisite skills within and across domains.

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