Educational phenomena are sequential, cumulative, and contingent, but educational social scientists have only rarely modeled their inquiries to capture this complexity. Newly available computational tools and scaled data make it possible to observe the sequential, cumulative, and contingent character of educational progress at micro, meso, and macro levels. This session is our latest effort to integrate work from a range of fields to develop heuristics for a new science of educational progress. Our goal is theoretical and methodological pluralism through conscientious matching of inquiry design, data and substantive problem.