Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education




Learning & Instruction EdD

First Advisor

Robert Burns

Second Advisor

Mathew Mitchell

Third Advisor

Helen Maniates


Curricular sequencing is central to instruction design and enactment. If carefully planned for, the order of topics to be taught would determine how the fundamentals of the discipline can be presented and introduced to learners, in a sequence that eases them into more complex ways of reasoning and thinking about the domain. These sequences or learning progressions often reflect the experts’ conceptual schemas of the discipline and are conceived as strategic models for instruction (Duschl et al., 2011).

The varied findings from current research on learning progressions underscore the complexity of teaching and learning, and imply that even ‘well-crafted’, standards-based, and authorized learning progressions need to be understood, decoded and customized by educators in the field. Teachers need to interpret and enact these standards-endorsed learning progressions in ways that are appropriate for their own students.

This qualitative study sought to understand and document what physics teachers in Singapore believe are conceptual themes that connect the concepts in Kinematics and Dynamics, the logic that underpins the transitions between topics, and the considerations as well as general strategies that teachers employ when planning a learning progression. The sample was purposive and comprised 22 teachers who taught physics at grades seven to twelve in Singapore schools. Data were obtained through in-depth, task-based interviews with the physics teachers.

The study found that the teachers’ arrangement of the learning objectives were unique, implying that there is likely to be no standard learning progression across Singapore classrooms or across school types. From the teacher interviews, there were a total of ten pedagogical strategies and considerations (six that were concept-themed and four that were generic) that teachers may reflect on when planning a learning progression. These ten pedagogical practices offer teachers various permutations for curricular sequencing.

The findings of the study suggest that teachers recognize the significance and consequence of learning progressions and conscientiously plan their presentations of the teaching unit. In the teachers’ daily teaching practice, the order of topics taught depends on contextual factors and their professional beliefs, and would thus depart from a standard formal sequence.