Design Tools

The design tools listed below were created in-house by reDesign's team to support your efforts in designing, developing, and implementing a mastery-based learning system. Tools are organized by each of the six key elements of a mastery learning system. We encourage you to keep checking back, as the development of additional tools and design guides is ongoing.


Making Mastery Accessible: Self-Assessment Tool

One of the challenges of creating a mastery learning system is the range and depth of expertise that is required to create a coherent model. Knowing how or if one's skills and capacities will transfer to this context is not always simple. Our Self-Assessment will help you identify strengths and competencies on your team, and highlight gaps where additional expertise might be solicited. In addition to sets of reflective questions on key elements of mastery learning, this Self-Assessment Tool offers team activities for exploring areas for deeper learning.


Features of a Mastery Learning System Infographic

Designing a mastery learning system is incredibly complex work, partly because of the broad and deep expertise required and partly because of the interdependent nature of the various aspect of the system. This infographic displays the components of a mature system, while also highlighting some of the key interactions between various elements of the system. Check out reDesign's Roadmap to Implementing a Mastery System, which organizes these features in a recommended sequence, with accompanying designer's tips.


Roadmap for Implementing a Mastery Learning System

Where to begin and how to proceed? Those seeking to design and implement mastery learning systems are asking these questions. The Roadmap provides a bird's eye view of our recommended design and implementation sequence for establishing a comprehensive mastery learning system.



Making Mastery Work

A few years ago, Nellie Mae Education Foundation commissioned reDesign to research the state of play of mastery learning in New England schools. The result, "Making Mastery Work," documents the work of several early-adopter schools and networks. The report was the precursor to our "Making Mastery Accessible" project, which relies on many of the learnings documented here to develop a set of Design Guides and Tools to support current-day designers.


Bronx Arena High School Multimedia Monograph

In 2016, reDesign had the opportunity to create a multimedia monograph of Bronx Arena High School, an innovative, competency-based high school serving historically marginalized youth in New York City. The monograph gives you the opportunity to deeply explore a competency-based, technology-enabled school that is seeing remarkable results in only its fifth year since it's founding.



Competency Adoption Guide

Competencies are the foundation of a mastery learning system, helping all members of a learning community understand the skills, knowledge and capacities that will lead to strong performance.This design guide describes a four-step process to support the development of sound college- and career-aligned competencies: Plan, Goal Definition, Source & Review, and Adapt & Iterate. Readers will also find profiles of the competencies developed and used by the School District of Philadelphia and its nonprofit partner B-21, and NYC's Bronx Arena High School.

Just-in-Time Crediting at Bronx Arena High School

At Bronx Arena High School, rather than having to wait until the end of the school year, students have the opportunity to earn credit as soon as they fulfill requirements for courses and competencies. Learn more about the nuts and bolts of just-in-time crediting, and the impact it has on students' sense of ownership and self-efficacy in learning.


The Bronx Arena High School Online "Tracker" 

At Bronx Arena High School, students have complete access to the curriculum, as well as a diverse set of digital tools for goal-setting, work and time management, and monitoring their progress on a daily basis across all courses and all competencies. Learn more about the system by watching this short video.



A Guide to Creating a Mastery-based Grading Policy

Developing a grading policy is a key step toward solidifying and communicating a mastery learning system to stakeholders. Our Grading Policy Design Guide details the must-haves for setting up a coherent and comprehensive system to support and track mastery learning. Because so many schools operate within states and districts that are organized around the Carnegie Unit, the guide also provides a set of recommendations and workarounds to address the particular tensions that arise from this circumstance.



Mapping Backward From College Tasks

Well-designed assessment systems prepare students to be college and career ready by providing them opportunities to practice the types of tasks they will encounter in college. This PowerPoint explains how Schools for the Future organizes its performance tasks to align with the tasks assigned to college freshmen. Take a look at the list of College-Benchmarked Performance Tasks and the Performance Task section of our Design Lab to explore reDesign's approach to performance task design.

College Benchmarked Performance Tasks

In 2013, reDesign scanned the syllabi from a broad range of college freshman courses from some of the most competitive colleges and from some of the most open institutions. The scan revealed that across the country, college freshmen are assigned a remarkably similar set of assignments during their first year (e.g. argumentative essays, lab reports, research papers). With this information in hand, reDesign has developed a set of guides to support teachers in their efforts to prepare students for the academic tasks they will face after high school. To explore this more deeply, check out the Performance Task section of the Design Lab.


Assessment Pathway ("Opportunity Map") Tool

One of the best ways to ensure that students have enough opportunity to master new content and skills is to develop an Assessment Pathway (also called an Evidence Map or Opportunity Map). The Pathway allows educators to map out when and where students will have the opportunity to undertake college- and career-aligned tasks. This prototyping tool provides a way for designers to begin mapping out the kinds of performance tasks students will undertake at each performance level, in each department, and across the school as a whole. To see a working prototype, check out the Model Assessment Pathway (below).


Assessment Pathway ("Opportunity Map") Model

This model Assessment Pathway was designed for Schools for the Future, which uses a blend of the Edgenuity Course Catalog and reDesign-developed Performance Tasks Guides. The model provides everyone in a school community with a bird's' eye view of the number of times students will undertake specific tasks within an individual course, department or school year/level, as well as across multiple years/levels, courses and departments. To work on creating your own Pathway, use our Assessment Pathway Tool (above).


Rigor, Relevance, Agency Checklist for Quality Performance Task Design

This tool describes quality criteria for designing performance tasks across subject areas, whether short or embedded performance tasks

A Guide To Selecting Learning Assets

Identifying or developing high-quality learning assets to support mastery learning remains challenging, particularly at the secondary level. This design guide is organized as a set of check-lists that can be used to evaluate the quality and appropriateness of online learning assets. Using the checklists will help you reflect on issues such as the appropriateness for your students' knowledge and skills, alignment with your school's competencies, the existence of embedded formative and summative assessments, and the asset's progress tracking capabilities.


Online Curriculum Resources Search Tool

Explore this curation of online curricular resources and educational games that span the K-12 continuum. Use our filters to set your criteria -- such as grade level, platform type, cost, and whether it is a recuperative tool -- to find digital learning tools that meet your needs! The reDesign has spent dozens of hours searching, vetting, sorting, and curating to make this list freely available to our clients, colleagues, and website visiters. Enjoy!


Teacher Facilitation Modalities

Watch this video from Bronx Arena High School that introduces their seven teacher facilitation modes, an approach that Bronx Arena High School and reDesign created together to help bring greater clarity, consistent language, and strategic planning to instructional delivery in a blended, asynchronous learning environment. 


Teaching to One at Bronx Arena High School

Learn more about Bronx Arena High School's approach to individualized, responsive instruction that begins on day one of a new student's arrival.







A Guide to Creating Learning Outcome Statements

Learning Outcomes are an anchor to a mastery learning system's curriculum and assessment design. Unfortunately, developing strong, competency-aligned learning outcomes is challenging, requiring deep content and skill knowledge. This guide provides support to designers undertaking this work.



Changing Jobs, Changing Skills: A Parent and Family Introduction to Mastery (Presentation)

This presentation was created to introduce parents, families, and community members to competency-based education. It provides a series of discussion prompts that can be used to build understanding about the value of competency-based learning, including several videos, key data points on recent job forecasts, and personal reflection questions.





Creative Scheduling & Grouping Plans

In schools across the country, 40-50 minute learning periods remain the norm, with individual teachers assigned to groups of students who have been organized by age or ability. This slideshow showcases districts and schools that are breaking with traditional schedules to introduce flexibility around where and when learning takes place, pushing the envelope of learning possibilities with a host of innovative practices. Check out the Calendar & Scheduling Prototyping Tool to play around with your own creative ideas about how to organize time, staff and students to support mastery learning.

Schedule Prototyping Tool

One of the most challenging aspects of designing a true mastery learning system is organizing students and learning in such a way as to support asynchronous learning. This schedule and calendar prototyping tool provides an opportunity to "play" with different arrangements of time for groupings of people. Check out our Slideshow Creative Uses of Time in School (above) to see examples of schools, networks and districts who are pushing the envelope in organizing students, teachers, the school calendar and the schedule in order to maximize opportunities for meaningful, deep learning.




The Design Tools featured on this page were developed in partnership with Springpoint, and supported by Carnegie Corporation of New York.