The ancient Romans marked each mile along their enduringly constructed roads with a large stone, which became known as 'milestones'. Similarly, the acquisition of a specific stage of development has become known as a 'milestone'. As children grow taller, many parents regularly plot their incremental physical growth by making marks on a door jamb or wall. Over the years, children can see how they grew taller as they got older. Incremental physical growth is thus charted by parents.
Recently, Sandra Heldstab and several colleagues from the University of Zurich identified that neural development occurred in a fixed pattern among primates. The researchers also identified that manual dexterity was greater, but took longer to develop, in primates with larger brains.
Asynchronous development is common among individuals of heightened cognitive ability because some areas or skills invariably develop ahead of other areas or skills. Some (especially physical) areas of development tend to be aligned with chronological age and occur in a relatively linear manner, with occasional growth spurts evidenced by marks on a wall. Other areas might develop according to an individual's cognitive development or mental age. These cognitive developments might feature cognitive leaps – where rapid advancement may be evident. There may be various areas of development scattered between chronological and cognitive development. Specific delays might be observed as located below the level expected for individuals of a certain chronological age. These developmental delays or disabilities might occur in conjunction with areas of cognitive advancement, setting up a wide range of capabilities, referred to as twice exceptionality.
Added to these developmental milestones are points of academic achievement. These are usually indicated by academic results recorded in school reports but rarely are these displayed as milestones and certainly not as a visual display recorded on a wall or door jamb. There can be value, however, in plotting academic development so that students can focus on achieving incremental academic growth. In some instances, students might be capable of academic leaps or acceleration through the curriculum normally expected of students at that stage of their education; however for many students, incremental growth is expected to occur in physical, cognitive and academic development.
Students and their parents may discuss academic goals for the future; however it could be useful for some students and parents to develop a graphic illustration of the student's academic progress in order to chart academic development and clarify what is required to focus upon incremental growth within a specific subject.
© Michele Juratowitch