The Spectrum of Choice

The Spectrum of Choice is an artifact to help answer the following questions:

  • What level of choice does a student have?
  • What is the teacher’s level of involvement?
  • In what area(s) of the learning process is the student given an opportunity of choice? 

Think of it as Bloom’s Taxonomy for student choice, categorized into five levels, The Spectrum of Choice describes how the students and the teacher are involved at each level. By selecting the appropriate level for each routine of the Learning Sprint, classrooms can define, measure, monitor, and adjust their degree of student choice. Agile classrooms, regardless of which level the class is currently operating at, can utilize the Learning Sprint and Visible Learning Artifacts. These provide structure, support, and scaffolding across all levels of choice.

In an Agile Classroom, we use it to configure and scaffold each of the 5 Self-Directed Learning Routines. For example, in the Planning Routine, you can use the Spectrum of Choice to determine the level of self-directedness students will have in planning their learning. You may start off at level 1, modeling what planning learning looks like, and the students are still being directed in what to do. By the end of the course or school year, you may have increased their level of choice to level 4 – Choosing, where students work with the teacher on options, but the students choose how they will achieve their learning goals. The teacher is coaching and provides feedback to the students on how they plan.

You might also start out at a high level of choice and shift left in the spectrum. Perhaps it was too much choice, and the students were not ready. In an Agile Classroom, the intent is to improve student capacity to make good choices. It is not to max out choice. This may take time and some experimenting. The Spectrum of Choice gives you a tool to tune in to the right level of choice for your students.