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Stages of Understanding: Surpass


Stage 4: Surpass

Students at this stage draw from multiple reservoirs of knowledge to create hypotheses and work independently to support, refine, and explain their work.  While curriculum themed, student work in this area draws from multiple arenas, including those outside the curriculum. Original student thought is key to success on this stage.

Equivalent Stages: Bloom’s Create, Webb’s Extended Thinking, Costa’s Experience Based


Sources of Authority

Students use the curricular canon of knowledge as a foundation for their work.  Students may also use sources that are less widely accepted or that invite multiple interpretations, with analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of sources.  Students themselves demonstrate authority, through the demonstration of expert skill in analyzing and evaluating multiple sources of authority to produce an original product that is itself authoritative.


Character/Nature of Learning

Learning in this stage is student-driven and incorporates complex thinking.  Student learning is often contingent, rather than structured - and different students may have outcomes that are equally successful yet qualitatively different.  Learning is informed by multiple sources of information, often across disciplines, and often defies a linear explanation and requires contextual understanding.


Character/Nature of Assessment

Assessment at this stage is qualitative in nature, and may be process-based as well as product-based.  Complex rubrics that do not rely on quantitative measures may be useful for assessment. It may be possible for a student to have a hypothesis that fails, yet to still have successfully learned from the activity.



  • Dynamic challenges that require constant analysis and modification (building the tallest tower, simulations, etc.)

  • Original research and/or action based on that research.

  • Community action to solve a problem or area of concern within or outside the classroom.