Skill Progression / Stars

Zero Stars

If a student has zero stars for certain skills, this means the student has not yet attempted the skills once.
This occurs when the instructor is focused on different skills that better suit the entire class’ needs; they will introduce the absent skills in the next class or two. More specific scenarios include:
  1. The student missed a class where those skills were first introduced
  2. The student is still in the process of building up to those skills
In any case, each skill requirement will be revisited within one or two weeks. Note that if a skill is especially critical to safety or the overall ability to swim, it is unlikely to be left out of lessons for more than one class.
Blue Star

One Star

We have introduced a skill to a student. We are working on them recognizing the skill and teaching them how to execute it. A 1-star skill has been attempted by the student. Examples include:
  1. The class tried it once as a whole before moving on to a more time-consuming activity
  2. The instructor observed the student execute the skill to some extent at a time when said skill was not the directive (i.e., the skill in question was incidentally part of a different, more complex skill)
  3. The skill has been focused on in class, but the student cannot yet accomplish it unassisted (lower levels) or successfully execute it (upper levels)
In other words, a one star skill does not yet resemble the way it should be performed. It is an early development.
Blue Star

Two Stars

The student recognizes the skill and understands what they need to do. This star is when the student is actually learning and practicing the skill. A 2-star skill has been attempted by the student and is in the process of development. Examples include:
  1. Breaststroke kick that looks correct but provides no glide
  2. Good push-off when doing glides but student surfaces too early
  3. Dolphin kicks with flutter kicks in-between during Butterfly
The student knows what the skill should look like and is in the process of learning how to arrive at that destination.
Blue Star

Three Stars

The student performs the skill safely and properly every time asked by the instructor; essentially, mastery of the skill. A 3-star skill has been developed to the point where the student can demonstrate consistently effective results. Compared to the 2-star examples, 3-stars would look like this:
  1. Breaststroke kick looks correct, provides glide, and can be coordinated with arm movements
  2. Correct position when pushing off the wall and underwater glide lasts until student reaches/passes the flags
  3. Butterfly demonstrates proper timing and movement with no extraneous gestures
As you can see, the 3-star examples have more parts involved than those of 2-stars. That’s because each skill is building up to a more complex result, and mastery of a skill involves the natural inclusion of core skills (balance, breath control, movement, coordination).

3-star fulfillment may look a little different depending on the level. Safety skills are more pertinent to graduation in the lower levels, while efficacy and technique become the focal point of upper levels. For example, backstroke is a primary skill in 3 levels:
  1. Otters: Safe BK. Dependent on ability to float and effectively pull water: is it safe?
  2. Flounders: Safe, effective BK. Is backstroke balanced and coordinated?
  3. Triggerfish: Formal BK. Straight arms? Kicking from hip? Minimal splashing?
So, you wouldn’t have the same expectations for an Otter as you would a Triggerfish, despite the skill being the same.
Parents will see faster progression from 1 to 2 stars as the upgrade is reliant on recognition rather than performance. It takes longer to move from 2 to 3 stars because they have to produce more nuanced procedures. Most importantly, it is our responsibility to ensure each student is adept enough to safely enter the next level. We want them to move up just as much as their parents, but if their performance does not demonstrate a genuine understanding of the skills required to take on more challenging activities, graduating them is in no one’s best interest!