Confidence Banner


Support students’ confidence through instruction that includes clear expectations; challenging work that is calibrated to the knowledge, skills, and abilities of students; and informational and encouraging feedback

Confidence NGSS P5S1

Provide supports and scaffolds for students while they are doing mathematics or computational thinking, and gradually release or give students the option to choose whether to continue using these supports as their skills develop. Possible examples include:
  • Guidelines for graphing: the parts of a graph; how to determine a good scale for the data they are graphing; what type of graph will be most useful for their purpose
  • Spreadsheets for algorithms:
    • Functions in Excel or Google Sheets (e.g., calculating the mean or sum of several numbers; looking up numbers or text in a data set)
    • Examples can help demonstrate to students what an algorithm is
  • Process charts for algorithms:
    • Common logical structures (e.g., if, then, else; for loop; while loop)
    • Examples of simple algorithms that can be used as building blocks or jumping off points

Resource Information

Confidence Principles

The strategy above is aligned to the principles in bold.

Provide clear expectations
  • What students will be expected to learn or understand for an assignment or unit
  • What students will be expected to do and produce for an assignment or activity
  • How students will be assessed (on a task, project, unit, etc.)
  • What is available for students to manage their work (e.g., materials, time, scaffolds) and how they might manage their work through to completion of the task
Provide challenging work
  • Is calibrated to students’ skill level(s)
  • Conveys teacher’s confidence in students by communicating, “I believe you can do this”
  • Builds students’ confidence, helping students to see that “I can do this”
  • Note: Challenge can be less intimidating when teachers make explicit connections between challenge and learning/growth
  • Note: Too little challenge and overly scripted tasks damage students’ confidence by sending the message, “I don’t think you can handle anything more than this”
  • Providing examples of high quality work
  • Providing examples of similar others (e.g., students from prior years, scientists) who have succeeded or who have overcome challenges. This is especially helpful for learners who struggle or have low confidence
  • Being attuned to students (e.g., to their progress, struggles, emotions, actions, reactions, etc.) through observations and interactions
  • Helping students identify supports they have available or pointing students to supports to use while they work
  • Modeling successful strategies
  • Helping students to identify prior knowledge and previously successful strategies that might help them successfully complete the current taskd
  • Indicates specific things the student has done well and how the student might continue to improve
  • Contains information about the causes of success and failure so that students attribute outcomes to their efforts and strategies (rather than luck, ability, or external sources like task difficulty)
  • Communicates confidence in students' ability to meet the teacher’s high expectations
  • Avoids over-generalizing (e.g., “Good job!”)