Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics > Teaching Methods > Quantitative Writing > How to Use Quantitative Writing > Decide on Scaffolding

Decide How Much Scaffolding You Will Supply


Scaffolding is the frame or structure you provide for an assignment. Scaffolding is important for several reasons. An unstructured assignment is more difficult to complete since students may not be clear on what you want them to do. Even if they do understand the goal, they may not think to include all the steps you wish to see. Thus, the simplest form of scaffolding is to explicitly identify everything students should do to complete the assignment. An unstructured assignment also is more difficult to grade since different students may take the assignment in different directions.
The last assignment for a course often brings together a number of learning outcomes connected both to subject matter and to methods of inquiry, analysis, and argument. By imagining the project you want students to complete at the end of the course, you can assess the project's difficulty level, analyze its component parts, and identify the "moves" students will need to make to complete it successfully. Such scaffolding is particularly helpful when you have students in your class with a range of backgrounds and levels of familiarity with quantitative reasoning.

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