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What's The Truth About Mastery Learning

After years in education, one indisputable fact is that ALL children can learn. Unfortunately, barriers such as time and space create obstacles for learners to progress through the content in the classroom. A mastery based system simply seeks to remove these barriers and allow students to grapple with concepts or accelerate to deep levels of thinking based on personal readiness and understanding.

Traditional systems are often based on pacing guides or teacher guidelines. A mastery system allows students to progress through the curriculum based on their own personal readiness and learning. The teacher and student co-craft learning goals, practice, and assessment which makes the teacher-student relationship essential to the process. A student can demonstrate evidence of mastery in a variety of ways. Student learning drives the educational experience, which is incredibly powerful in building future ready skills like perseverance, problem solving, and collaboration.

Classroom environments in a mastery system look, sound, and feel completely different than what one might believe school should look like. Students may be laying on the floor, working in groups, meeting with the teacher, playing challenge games, or sitting at a desk. Learning takes shape in different ways and in different places as it is a highly personalized function and skill. Where and when learning takes place are far less important than the evidence demonstrating that learning has taken place.

Learning and growth are non-negotiable in a mastery based system. The absolute best strategy to prepare our students to be future ready is to ensure they learn the necessary content. A mastery learning system provides students and teachers with the time and flexibility to focus on individual student understanding, progress, and growth. Mastery learning not only focuses academic growth but supports social-emotional development. Students are able to develop and monitor personal goals which is empowering, building confidence and self awareness. Reaching goals and finding success are key to building self confidence and resilient learners. Our goal is for every student to graduate future ready and empowered, with a strong sense of individual hope. While this is not a simple task, we are confident the mastery learning approach provides students with a high level of content knowledge in a manner that sparks their interests and increases engagement resulting in a positive educational experience.

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