How to Implement Mastery Learning in Your Classroom

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Description

Mastery learning and teaching is a method for ensuring all learners meet a certain standard of comprehension or ability before moving on. Instructors set a benchmark of knowledge for learners to meet. Then, all assessment in this tactic is formative, where learners are given feedback and as much time as possible to improve before progressing.

Advantages

  • Learners are not left behind, and gaps in their knowledge are not overlooked.
  • Learners may feel rushed with this strategy.
  • Failure is not an option as instructors and learners keep working on the learning outcome until success is achieved.

Disadvantages

  • Instructors don’t have enough time to implement this approach.
  • The difference in abilities between learners means some learners will get a long way ahead while others remain a long way behind.

Implementation

  1. Diagnostic Pre-Assessment with Pre-Teaching: Most mastery learning models stress the importance of administering a quick and targeted pre-assessment to all learners before starting instruction to gauge whether they have the background knowledge and skills for success in the proposed learning experience.
  2. High-Quality, Group-Based Initial Instruction: Every description of mastery learning emphasizes the importance of engaging all learners in high-quality, developmentally appropriate, research-based instruction.
  3. Progress Monitoring through Regular Formative Assessments: Another feature of mastery learning is the use of regular formative assessments to monitor student progress and give learners prescriptive feedback systematically.
  4. High-Quality Corrective Instruction: Following formative assessments, mastery learning instructors provide high-quality corrective instruction designed to remedy whatever learning problems the assessments identified.
  5. Second, Parallel Formative Assessments: After corrective activities, mastery learning instructors give learners a second, parallel formative assessment that helps gauge the effectiveness of the remedial instruction and offers learners a second chance to demonstrate mastery and experience success.
  6. Enrichment or Extension Activities: Mastery learning instructors also offer productive enrichment activities that provide valuable, rigorous, and rewarding learning experiences for learners who have mastered the material and do not need corrective instruction.

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