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Support students’ confidence through instruction that includes clear expectations; challenging work that is calibrated to the knowledge, skills, and abilities of students; and informational and encouraging feedback

Confidence NGSS P4S6

Provide scaffolds such as thinking guides and checklists for common data analysis tasks that prompt students to consider which type of data analysis is most appropriate to help them figure out a phenomenon or solve a design problem. For example:
  • Guidelines for graphing: a checklist for the parts of a graph, thinking guides for students to determine a good scale for the data they are graphing or the type of graph that will be most useful for their purpose
  • Guidelines for data tabulation: checklists for how to set up a frequency table, how to set up a table for the different variables in an experiment, etc.
  • Guidelines for summarizing data: different summary statistics (e.g., mean, median, mode) and what information they provide scientists and engineers

Resource Information

Confidence Principles

The strategy above is aligned to the principles in bold.

Provide clear expectations
  • What students will be expected to learn or understand for an assignment or unit
  • What students will be expected to do and produce for an assignment or activity
  • How students will be assessed (on a task, project, unit, etc.)
  • What is available for students to manage their work (e.g., materials, time, scaffolds) and how they might manage their work through to completion of the task
Provide challenging work
  • Is calibrated to students’ skill level(s)
  • Conveys teacher’s confidence in students by communicating, “I believe you can do this”
  • Builds students’ confidence, helping students to see that “I can do this”
  • Note: Challenge can be less intimidating when teachers make explicit connections between challenge and learning/growth
  • Note: Too little challenge and overly scripted tasks damage students’ confidence by sending the message, “I don’t think you can handle anything more than this”
  • Providing examples of high quality work
  • Providing examples of similar others (e.g., students from prior years, scientists) who have succeeded or who have overcome challenges. This is especially helpful for learners who struggle or have low confidence
  • Being attuned to students (e.g., to their progress, struggles, emotions, actions, reactions, etc.) through observations and interactions
  • Helping students identify supports they have available or pointing students to supports to use while they work
  • Modeling successful strategies
  • Helping students to identify prior knowledge and previously successful strategies that might help them successfully complete the current taskd
  • Indicates specific things the student has done well and how the student might continue to improve
  • Contains information about the causes of success and failure so that students attribute outcomes to their efforts and strategies (rather than luck, ability, or external sources like task difficulty)
  • Communicates confidence in students' ability to meet the teacher’s high expectations
  • Avoids over-generalizing (e.g., “Good job!”)