Making Mastery Accessible

The Mastery Learning Resource Bank is organized around a practitioners glossary of terms that inclueds working definitions and designers' tips, accompanies by a set of curated resources. Here, you can explore the best thinking in the field on topics such as Flexibly-Paced Learning, Personalization, and Learning Progressions, while also discovering what Data Backpacks are, and how to distinguish them from Learner Profiles.

The Resource Bank was developed in partnership with Springpoint, and supported by Carnegie Corporation of New York. This section of the Design Lab is very active. We are continually updating our curated resources and refining our working definitions.

Resources » Resource Type

Resources » Type of Organization

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Flexible Modular Schedule (Flex-Mod)

Learning is structured around student needs, interests, and pacing, rather than around the typical 4, 6, or 8 period day found in most high schools. To achieve this, the school day is broken into 10, 15 or 20 minute segments (mods) that can be organized into larger blocks of time very easily: some learning may happen in chunks of 40 or 50 minutes, some may occur in 20-30 minute chunks, others may occur in chunks of several hours or a full day. In a flex-mod time, space and staffing is organized in a customized manner, based on student progress.

Formative Assessment

An opportunity for teachers and students to check for understanding of new concepts, contents and skills. Formative assessment provides teachers with feedback on the effectiveness of their teaching, and helps teachers identify the "next steps" that students need to undertake. Formative assessments are "in-process" assessments.

Grade Composition

The elements that combine to create a report card or progress report "grade" for students. In a mastery-learning system "grades" are composed of students' best demonstrations of mastery for each of the competencies: early efforts are viewed as practice rather than failure, and are not considered in the determination of a grade. For the purposes of reporting to families, authorizers, districts, other schools and post-secondary institutions, competencies can still be pegged to specific courses or modules, and an overall grade assigned.

Grade Reports

The report cards and progress reports that will be shared with students and their families at regular intervals during the school year, as well as the transcripts that will be sent to post-secondary institutions. In a mastery-learning system progress reports and report cards are often organized to display progress towards mastery of the competencies, while transcripts are organized to display grades for specific courses or modules.