The individuality of every student is determined by factors that support their ability to reach their own (perceived) state of equilibrium in the face of myriad of external influences. The goal is to measure student progress along a calculated developmental tract (Growth-Model) to objective achievement goals (graduation). It relates to measures of complexity and cybernetics and the determination of cognitive attributes applied as quantified student characteristics, developing a set of classification rules specifying how cognition impacts student performance.

Initial theories of cognitive development were based upon behaviorist studies of how children reacted to their environment. First published in 1952, the French psychologist Jean Piaget envisioned a child's knowledge as composed of schemas, basic units of knowledge used to organize past experiences and serve as a basis for understanding new ones. Cognitive styles refer to the preferred way a student may process information. This is a student's typical mode of thinking, remembering or problem solving and can be targeted by instruction. Cognitive style is also described as a personality dimension which influences attitudes, values and social interaction. Theoretically, cognitive and learning styles could be used to predict instructional strategies or methods most effective for a given individual or learning task. An objective understanding of innate cognitive skills can also facilitate development of l earning strategies, ranging from techniques for improved memory to better studying or test-taking competence.

Cognitive self-regulation refers to students being actively engaged in their own learning, including analyzing the demands of school assignments, planning for and mobilizing their resources to meet these demands, and monitoring their progress toward completion of assignments (Pintrich 1999, Zimmerman 1990, Zimmerman et al 1994). We are defining cognitive self-regulation as an internally synchronized state of perpetual equilibrium, measuring opposing forces of stability and instability in all aspects of student development to achieve motivated learning.