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.

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Just as we can create Playlists on iTunes and YouTube, those interested in personalizing learning have begun to create strategically curated lists of resources and activities that students can undertake to learn specific content and skills. These playlists can be accessed anytime/anywhere, allowing students to work toward mastery at their own pace.

Proficiency-Based Education (PBE)

This approach to education is grounded in 5 key design principles: 1. Students advance upon achieving a pre-determined level of mastery. 2. Explicit and measurable competencies empower students. 3. Assessment is meaningful, and a positive learning experience for students. 4. Students receive timely, rapid, differentiated support. 5. Learning outcomes emphasize the creation and application of knowledge and skills. Mastery Learning is a term often used interchangeably with Competency-Based Education and Proficiency-Based Education.

Proficiency-Based Grading

3 Key features: 1. Connect to clearly articulated learning objectives. 2. Separate academic achievement from behaviors. 3. Focus on learning progress. The practice of assessing students on their level of mastery of competencies/performance outcomes or standards. Grades are based on the final level of achieved mastery. This fundamentally different from traditional grading systems that typically consist of a cumulative score that's a combination of task completion, effort, and an average score on assignments and tasks.

Scope and Sequence

Scope refers to the breadth and depth of content and skills to be taught across grade levels. The sequence is the ordering of the content and skills. In High Schools organized around the Carnegie Unit, a scope and sequence becomes an ordering of courses: Algebra, Geometry, or US History, World History. In a Mastery Learning System, a scope and sequence can refer to smaller units of learning, such as a set of modules or units, or even a set of Thematic Projects, Perofrmance Tasks, or Challenges.

Scoring Rubrics

Common Core State Standards-aligned tools that identify what students can do at each level of the Rating System. In a competency-based system, the rubric would describe what performance of the competencies is at each level of the rating system. In a standards-based system, it would focus on performance for each standard.

Self-Paced Learning

A student-centered learning approach provides students with the tools and assets they need in order to learn at their own pace and make choices about the sequence and focus of their learning. This differs from a cohort model, in which students are grouped (by age, and often by ability as well), and then expected to progress at the same rate. This is slightly different from flexibly-paced learning, which allows students a range of time to undertake tasks, but sets some limits on the pace primarily in order to protect students from falling behind. Self-paced learning is inherently asynchronous.