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
Feedback Systems
Group Interventions

A huge benefit to operating in a blended learning setting is the ability to instantly generate data and make decisions based on the outcomes. As the class progresses, I can stay up to date with collaborative assignments on google docs/sheets/slides, while simultaneously checking how students respond to multiple choice questions I’ve assigned through socrative and CFUs embedded in video lessons through eduCanon. When formative assessment is ingrained as part of the learning process, students become more accustomed to feedback and get better at revising work to produce higher-quality finished products. Group interventions also establishes a collaborative environment between students and teacher where both parties are trying to accomplish the same goal - master difficult chemistry content. There’s nothing as powerful as targeted feedback, and in person check ups with each group serve to give students the support they need, exactly when they need it. Having a direct communication avenue between students and teacher enables students who feel unsure about their work to direct questions to me geared at clearing up misconceptions.

 
Routines and Procedures
Scholar Dollars

Keeping students motivated is very important in a self-paced course. Scholar Dollars is a strategy I developed to reward my students for working hard and making progress in the course. The concept of Scholar Dollars is pretty simple. Every time a student passes a Mastery Quiz, they receive five Scholar Dollars. Students receive 15 Scholar Dollars for passing a Level Test. Scholar Dollars can be used to buy school supplies, snacks, or even a pizza party. On random days, I switch up the payouts on Scholar Dollars - doubling the amount given, only paying for 100s on Mastery Quizzes or Level Tests, or giving all the Scholar Dollars earned on that day to one lucky student picked by lottery at the end of class.  

 
Feedback Systems
Teamwork Evaluation Rubric

At the end of any collaborative activity, each student makes a copy of this Teamwork Evaluation Rubric and fills out the boxes with his/her thoughts on the overall quality of their group's teamwork. The rubric includes multiple indicators of high-quality teamwork and encoruages discussion about how to improve future iterations. Indicators include noise level (framed as concern for other group's ability to work effectively), quality of work produced, overall teamwork, and level of grit. Students assess their own contributions to their collaborative assignment as well as their teammates' contributions. Students can insert glows and grows where they explicitly discuss their feelings regarding their own work and the work of their peers. I frame this activity as a team-building exercise. Evaluating collaborative assignments can be complicated. The Teamwork Evaluation Rubric allows me to collect a good deal of data about individual student's contributions from multiple perspectives, which is both a fair and thorough way to assess individuals and the team as a whole.

 
 
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