How Instructional Scaffolding Can Influence Student Learning And Performance

Scaffolding is the support given during the learning process which is tailored to the needs of the students with the intention of helping the students to achieve their learning objectives. Instructional scaffolding is the provision of support to promote learning when concepts and skills are being first introduced to the students. These supports may include; resources, a compelling task, templates and guidance on the development of cognitive and social skills. These supports are gradually removed as the students develop autonomous learning strategies, thus promoting their own cognitive, affective and psychomotive learning skills and knowledge.


The scaffold instruction is defined as the organized pattern and sequence of content, tasks, learning materials as well as to optimize learning both teachers and students involvements. To master new skills, tasks and to be able to comprehend and apply the skills without any guidance, the process of scaffolding supports learners. To present complex phenomena in simple understandable form as well as visually accessible knowledge, scaffolds are planned guidelines, conceptual framework, pictorial aids or images. To enable individual as an independent learner and mastery new skills and tasks, scaffolds provide incentives for teachers.

See Samples Of Undergraduate Research Topics, Free Project Materials And Guides For Students

Teachers can polish students’ those potentials that are out of the range of their current abilities. Scaffolding is a way through which teachers lead the learners from something known to unknown. Scaffolds perform as enablers, if accurately managed, in various learning settings. To break knowledge into small components and then leading towards construction and then extension are the forms of scaffolding.

It is the use of problem solving techniques under the supervision of adults as well as mutual collaborations with more capable peers. Through scaffolds, an expert as well as a more well-informed person can assist the students towards accomplishment of their set goals and to enable them to utilise already learnt skills, tasks and approaches to improve themselves to mastery those skills. Eventually, the internalized expertise achieved through supportive guidance becomes a part of their learning. The wisdom acquired through scaffolding was the instructor's contribution to bring creativity among learners.

 So in response to the child's utterance 'cow', she might say 'Yes, that's a cow. What does the cow say?', or she might ask for an elaboration 'And what did we see when we went to the farm today?' Whereas sequential scaffolding is the scaffolding found in the games played with children at meals, bath times, and so on.

Learning is a process of gradual internalization of routines and procedures available to the learner from the social and cultural context in which the learning takes place. In instructional scaffolding the language learner is assisted in a new task by a more skilled language user who models the language task to be used verbally and/or in writing.

 As well as through modeling, scaffolding is provided by leading or probing questions to extend or elaborate the knowledge the learner already possesses. Rather than evaluating the learner's answers, the teacher is supporting, encouraging, and providing additional props. As the learner's competence grows, so the scaffolding is gradually reduced until the learner is able to function autonomously in that task and generalize to similar circumstances.


 The following points can be used as guidelines when implementing instructional scaffolding.

  1. Select suitable tasks that match curriculum goals, course learning objectives and students’ needs.
  2. Allow students to help create instructional goals (this can increase students’ motivation and their commitment to learning.
  3. Consider students’ backgrounds and prior knowledge to assess their progress material that is too easy will quickly bore students and reduce motivation. On the other hand, material that is too difficult can turn off students’ interest levels).
  4. Use a variety of supports as students progress through a task (e.g., prompts, questions, hints, stories, models, visual scaffolding including pointing, representational gestures, diagrams, and other methods of highlighting visual information.
  5. Provide encouragement and praise as well as ask questions and have students explain their progress to help them stay focused on the goal.
  6. Monitor student progress through feedback (in addition to instructor feedback, have students summarize what they have accomplished so they are aware of their progress and what they have yet to complete.
  7. Create a welcoming, safe, and supportive learning environment that encourages students to take risks and try alternatives (everyone should feel comfortable expressing their thoughts without fear of negative responses).
  8. Help students become less dependent on instructional supports as they work on tasks and encourage them to practice the task in different context.


Academic achievement or academic performance is the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has attained their short or long-term educational goals. Completion of educational benchmarks such as secondary school diplomas and bachelor's degrees represent academic achievement.

Academic performance is the measurement of student achievement across various academic subjects. Teachers and education officials typically measure achievement using classroom performance, graduation rates and results from standardized tests.

Academic achievement is important for the successful development of young people in society. Students who do well in school are better able to make the transition into adulthood and to achieve occupational and economic success.


Educational institutions are mandated to use education as a tool for social transformation. The success of a school is measured by the quality of students it produces. The success of any educational institution is measured by the performance of its students in both academic and non-academic tests. When contending that the performance should not only be based in terms of test and examination results and student ability to apply what is learnt and the rate at which students move on to higher institution of learning, but should include other areas such as whether the students have acquired the survival skills. In spite of that, the use of students’ achievement in academic work to assess the teacher’s effectiveness has gained ground. Academic performance has been used to grade schools and most importantly to determine ones career paths. The ‘good schools’ are acclaimed to be those that are able groom the students well enough to achieve the set standards. This is measured by use of students’ academic performance both at school level and nationally. The importance of students’ high performance has attracted the attention of the public, policy-makers, educators, learners and ministry of education alike.


In general, scaffolding is construed as support given by a teacher to a student when performing a task that the student might otherwise not able to accomplish. First common characteristic in the various definitions of scaffolding is contingency; often referred to as responsiveness, tailored, adjusted, differentiated, titrated or calibrated support. The teachers’ support must be to the current level of the students’ performance and should either be at the same or a slightly higher level. A teacher acts contingently when he/she adapts the support in the way or another to a (group of) student(s). A tool for contingency is diagnostic strategies, to provide contingent support, that is one must first determine the students’ current level of competence. Only with such knowledge can the support to be provided be adapted to the students’ level of learning (i.e. made contingent). Many authors have acknowledged the importance of diagnosis in relation to scaffolding and were referred to as: dynamic assessment.

Instructional scaffolding can be thought of as the strategies that a teacher uses to help learners bridge a cognitive gap or process in their learning to a level they were previously unable to accomplish. These strategies evolve as the teachers evaluate the learners initial level of ability and then through continued feedback throughout the progression of the task. In the early studies, scaffolding was primarily done in oral, face-to-face learning environments. The influence of instructional scaffolding on academic performance of students in secondary schools is seen in the performance of students.

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