Hyperdoc Pathway to Mastery

Giving students ownership of the pace and of standards they need to master implies giving them access to a self-paced way to access content
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About This Strategy

In a Mastery-Based Progression, students should reach a point of awareness of specific competencies they have already mastered and that they have yet to master. For the latter, since every student in the room might have a different set of competencies to focus on, it is best practice to create a space and time during which students can work at their own pace on specific competencies or standards.

This self-paced work can take multiple forms: Small group or 1:1 work with the teacher on a specific competency is one powerful example but while a small group work with a teacher, the rest of the group should have access to quality, organized learning resources allowing them to grow in the competency of their choice with a combination of online and face to face activities.

This strategy will help you discover Hyperdoc Pathways to Mastery or Hyperdoc Playlists and how to build them to leverage existing resources, and hold students accountable to their goals.

Implementation Steps

90 minutes
  1. Before considering building a Standard/Competency-Based Hyperdoc Pathway, you should have given your students access to the following:
    • A way to know which competencies they need to focus on. It can be done in the form of a pre-assessment, a self-assessment at the beginning of a unit of study or it can come after a formative or summative assessment.
    • A way to record somewhere their competencies of strength as well as the ones they need to focus on. A public visual (See "Mastery Map" Strategy in the BetterLesson Lab) and an individual tracker (See "Progress and Mastery Tracker" Strategy in the BetterLesson Lab) can be both helpful!
    • A pacing calendar that can give them an idea of a suggested pace for the upcoming week and a contract allowing them to commit to working on specific competencies during the self-paced work time (See "Pacing Calendar" Strategy in the BetterLesson Lab)
  2. Choose a competency/standard and create a Google Doc focused on helping students to reach mastery in this competency. This four column structure (examples of which can be found in the resources below) can help:

    • 1st column for the title of an activity

    • 2nd column for the description of an activity

    • 3rd column for notes or questions

    • 4th column for date completed and possibly score or link to a product created

  3. To compose a pathway, think first about the two following criteria:
    • A variety of approaches to understand the same concept: video, interactive online activities, manipulative, partner games, etc
    • Resources already available in your school
  4. Note that a first pathway may look like a list of activities to do in order, which at first may just give students control of the pace within a hyperdoc pathway. But it is already a start!
  5. Block time to collect pathways, digitally or on paper copies so that you can hold students accountable to what they say they have done. Utilize a strategy like Whole Group Data Dive located in the BetterLesson Lab to give your students a report on what you saw in their work so that they understand that their work on pathways won't go unnoticed.
  6. After this first iteration, consider the following improvements for more personalization:
    • giving students choice within a section of the pathway of the way they want to demonstrate mastery of a skill (see example in resource section below).
    • giving students choice within pathway of a level of rigor of the work they want to engage in. For example, by using a mild-medium-spicy structure for your pathway (See example in resource section below).
    • giving students a way to test out of a competency at the end of a pathway. It can look like a pathway exit ticket/short assessment and it will help you and them verify that the work in the pathway has indeed led to mastery. Use the strategies "Battling the Boss" and "I'm Ready to Prove I'm a Master at This" in the BetterLesson Lab to see how this can be done fairly easily.
    • giving students a way to personalize their pathways for their specific need. This can simply happen by living blank spaces for personalization to your general template, and adding individual options based on your data or letting students add themselves things they would like to do to work on their growth areas based on what they know of themselves.

EL Modification

Traditional paper-based, written methods of assessment may limit ELs' ability to demonstrate their learning. In conjunction with traditional assessments, consider giving ELs the opportunity to demonstrate their learning through:

  1. Conferences

  2. Take-home reflections

  3. Oral presentations or re-tellings

  4. Learning logs

  5. Graphic organizers

  6. Cloze exercises

  7. Visual/image representation

Coach Tips

Romain Bertrand
BetterLesson Instructional Coach
  1. The idea of creating multiple pathways for different standards/competencies can feel overwhelming at first. My advice is to start by creating just one, and without elements of choice or differentiation yet. This will help you build a skeleton to iterate from for all your upcoming pathways. It will also help you stay on top of that first one and give students feedback, which is essential. There is always time later on to create more and to give more choices and control gradually!

  2. When you give more traditional assessments, take a moment to compare mastery data from these assessments with mastery data from the work of students in their pathway. Look for alignment and discrepancies. Confer with students to make them aware of the differences. Consider building multi-standard pathways geared toward helping students make decisions when facing a more complex problem.

Tech Tools


  1. A HyperDoc can be used to provide structure and detail for a self-paced activity where students are assessing at different times. A HyperDoc can be designed from templates or created from scratch using a word processing program. Students can type directly into these documents or use them as a guide for learning a concept or skill

  2. What makes the hyperdoc a great tool for pathways is its interactivity. Students can then use their hyperdoc pathway both as a way to access content, but also to create content, ideas and reflections and share them. It is a two way street!