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Piagetian Programs

Author: Pencil Case  Date: 08 May 2020

Current position on John Hattie's list of student achievement influences: 6

Effect size: 1.28

Definition of a Piagetian program

A Piagetian program means conducting your teaching and assessment in a way that matches the four developmental stages identified by Jean Piaget.

For example, children aged 2 to 7 are in the preoperational stage. In this stage, children learn predominantly through imaginative play. Therefore, a Piagetian program would involve the 5 year old child feeding "carrots" (perhaps counters, sticks or tokens) to toy rabbits. The child may be asked to count the number of rabbits or the number of counters fed. Because this activity matches the Piagetian stage of development the child has a high chance of success. The teacher would teach the child to count by "feeding rabbits" and would assess the child's ability to count while "feeding rabbits". Once mastered, the teacher may move to more abstract activities such as counting the tokens with no rabbit.

This contrasts to a non Piagetian approach. Giving a 5 year old student a page of written sums falls outside the preoperational stage. It would be possible to say, "this child is weak at maths because they cannot complete a page of written sums". Because, according to Piaget, this activity is developmentally inappropriate the child will be unable to achieve success appropriate to the developmental stage.

Piagetian programs have a large effect size because students taught and assessed based on the four stages of development suggested by Piaget are able to develop and show their capability in a way that is developmentally appropriate.


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