A single, successful application of one or more competencies at a level of proficiency or higher.


  • Advancement on Mastery
  • Meaningful Assessment

Designer's Tips 

"As you design your mastery learning system, you'll want to answer these two key questions: What types of tasks should ""count"" as demonstrations of a student's competencies/skills? How many demonstrations -- at a level of proficiency or higher -- are sufficient for showing ""mastery"" and advancing to the next level?

It is also important to separate ""opportunities to demonstrate"" a competency/skillset from ""successful demonstrations."" For example, your requirement for showing mastery may be two successful demonstrations of a skillset (e.g. engaging in a collaborative discussion), but it will be critical to offer many opportunities over the course of the year for a student to achieve those two required demonstrations. This has important implications for both instructional planning and assessment planning, as teachers will likely need to plan to offer more opportunities than are required for mastery."

Tips for a Short Implementation Time-Line 

"It is very common for schools and districts in their first year to organize very few opportunities to demonstrate mastery: while the curriculum and assessments are being created or adapted, the staff learning curve is incredibly steep, and student skills are being inventoried.

Over time, the goal should be to make demonstrations part of a highly coordinated program, so that students are not waiting for rate opportunities to demonstrate their mastery. But, this does take time!"

Curated Resources: This collection of resources from the field includes models and exemplars, as well as “DIY” guidance to facilitate your exploration of this term. 

Todd County Learning Targets: Mastery Learning in a High School Math Classroom


This video offers an unusually detailed view of a teacher using learning targets in a competency-based setting. Among the nuggets are how she helps students decide when they are ready to take a shot at demonstrating proficiency on a particular set of standards through some type of evidence.


Jessica Addison

Resource Type 

  • Video

Publishing Organization 

Todd County, Kentucky

Type of Organization 

  • School or District


Formative Assessment
Asynchronous Learning
Flexibly-Paced Learning
Grouping Plan
Learning Progressions
Learning Targets