text (written, oral, or visual) is revealed progressively,
e.g., sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph,
verse by verse, section by section (in the visual arts),
phrase by phrase (in music), or element by element (in
mathematical problem solving). As each new piece of
narrowly focused information is revealed, students integrate
it with previously revealed information (and their prior
knowledge) to thoroughly and systematically build up
an understanding of the text as a whole.
disclosure provides an authentic context for assessing
students’ use of
strategies (reading, listening, and viewing)
thinking (analysing or evaluating information, particularly
statements that have been claimed to be true)
(what individuals know about their own thinking)
disclosure is part of the wider Problem-based Learning
theory (PBL) (Hmelo-Silver & Barrows, 2006). PBL
refers to approaches to learning that are driven by
a process of inquiry.
disclosure has close associations with Cognitive Load
Theory (Sweller, 1998). Cognitive load refers to the
load on working memory during problem-solving, i.e.,
the more things a person has to think about at any one
time, the more difficult it is for them to process information.
Progressive disclosure minimises cognitive load.
the strategy works
students analyse narrow or targeted pieces of a text
and also synthesise what they learn from across the
whole text, they and their teachers are able to gain
insight into their thinking at various levels of the
text, e.g., sentence, paragraph, and whole text level.
When analysing student responses,
the learning intention.
reveal sections of the text, e.g., a narrative, poem,
science explanation, photograph, film, mathematical
problem, piece of music, or a play/dance rehearsal.
each section of text is revealed: guide student thinking
with questions related to the learning intention;
support them to make their thinking explicit by discussing
what they know and identifying the evidence they have
to support that knowledge; discuss any questions the
text raises; support them to integrate new and previously
known information, and to refine their thinking in
light of new information where necessary.
used and neglected
of evidence, e.g., within and across sentences and
paragraphs, and across the text as a whole
of thinking in light of new evidence
with the task
process can become laborious if the text is long:
spread the lesson over a number of sessions; have
groups or individuals take responsibility for analysing
particular sections of text then integrate those sections
as a whole class (e.g., Jigsaw learning); or do some
of the work for the students yourself.
students do not have the meta-language (the language
we use to discuss language itself) needed to discuss
how texts are constructed and what they mean, this
strategy will be of limited use.
of ARB resources that use progressive disclosure
resources are from the English bank and
cover levels 2-5. They assess the comprehension strategy
of inference, and involve the progressive disclosure
that involve progressive disclosure.
to the set article, How students interpret
poetry: findings from Assessment Resource Banks trials.
C. & Barrows, H.S. (2006). Goals and strategies
of a problem-based learning facilitator. Interdisciplinary
Journal of Problem-based Learning. 1, 1, 21-39.
Goals and Strategies of a Problem-based Learning Facilitator.
This paper describes an analysis of facilitation of
a student-centred problem-based learning group.
J. (1998). Cognitive load during problem solving: Effects
on learning. Cognitive Science. 12, 1, 257-285.
strategies | ARB