Introduction to Mastery Based Learning: Intro to Mastery Based Learning

 
 
 
Intro to Mastery Based Learning
Teacher In Action
 
 
Teacher In Action
 
 
 
Academic Culture

Introduction to Mastery Based Learning

In the traditional classroom, time is constant and understanding is variable from student to student. The Flipped Mastery model inverts the traditional relationship between time and understanding, letting understanding be the constant and time be variable. All of my students are held to the same high standards, but they master standards at a pace they feel comfortable with and are ready for. Initially, many of my students are confused about what a self-paced mastery-based class is all about, so my co-teacher and I find it helpful to introduce the concept to our students in a very strategic and explicit way at the beginning of each school year. 

Strategy Resources (3)
Poster
 
 
Given that mastery-based learning is a new concept for most students, I hang this poster, explaining the mastery cycle, at the front of my classroom.
Student Handout
 
 
This is the syllabus I send home for parents to sign on the first day of class. Given that mastery- based grading is novel not only for my students, but the parents as well, strong parent communication is essential. The syllabus helps parents understand mastery-based grading and what is expected from my students to pass each trimester.
Poster
 
 
Given that mastery-based learning is a new concept for most students, I hang this poster, explaining the mastery cycle, at the front of my classroom.
Student Handout
 
 
This is the syllabus I send home for parents to sign on the first day of class. Given that mastery- based grading is novel not only for my students, but the parents as well, strong parent communication is essential. The syllabus helps parents understand mastery-based grading and what is expected from my students to pass each trimester.
Benjamin Siegel
New Visions Charter High School for the Humanities II
Bronx, NY


 

About this strategy

Prep Time:
Long
Subject:
Math
Grade:
Tenth grade
Similar Strategies
Blended Learning Model Overviews
Flipped Mastery Model

I use a Flipped Mastery model of instruction. In this model, students watch videos of lessons that I have recorded and posted on the class website, answer a set of practice problems to hone their skills, and take a Mastery Quiz when they feel ready to show they have mastered the material. I provide 1:1 coaching and support throughout the process. If students pass a quiz, they move onto the next lesson. If they fail, they are required to do another practice assignment before re-trying the quiz.  There is no failing in my class.  Either you know something or you’re still learning how to do that thing, but there’s no in-between.

Number of Students: ~22-28 students

Number of Adults: two teachers (co-teaching model)

Length of Class Period/Learning Time: 110 minutes

Digital Content/Ed Tech Tools Used on a Regular Basis: IXL; SMART Notebook; Screencast-O-Matic; Weebly; PowerSchool; Kahoot!; Google Forms

Hardware Used on a Regular Basis: SMARTboard; Wacom Tablet; Amplify Teacher Tablet (for teacher); Mac PowerBook (for teacher)

Key Features: flipped-mastery; competency-based; student agency; co-teaching

 
Independent Student Learning
Bonus Materials

Sometimes students need a lesson or concept explained to them in a different way than has been done in the video I recorded. For this reason, I try to find other resources for students to use to get unstuck.

 
Instructional Openings
The Catalyst

Chemistry is a combination of the comprehension of scientific content and the application of mathematics to those concepts. My students have to be prepared to think deeply about difficult concepts the minute they step into my room. Starting the class with a relevant "Catalyst" helps them initiate their own thinking processes in preparation for a productive day in the same way that biological enzymes catalyze chemical reactions. During The Catalyst, I model my thinking process for how to approach a mathematical problem by having my students identify the key steps in the calculation and establish a foundation that students who struggle with math can fall back on when they're confused.  

 
 
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