Assessing in Mastery Learning: What we Have Learned

This is my third year of doing mastery learning and the more I teach this way the more I like it. Many of our followers have asked for advice from Aaron and I. What have we learned so that they don’t have to make the same mistakes that we have made. Today I want to talk about how we have changed up our assessment s.

This year in our Chemistry classes we have changed a bit how we assess our students. In the past we would check every single assignment that students assigned. We would then put that in the grade book. This year we looked at objectives and instead of a student trying to “get work” done they are now focused in on the objectives that might have several learning activities. This chunking of our activities into objectives.

Below are the old and the new checklists: Note how the old system is very busy and the new one is not very busy.

Clearly: the second chart makes it easier for students to see what it is they need to know and be able to do. Thus far this has fostered a greater amount of learning.

We have even changed the way that we talk to students. Instead of: did you get that assignment done? It is now, “What objective are you struggling with today and how can I help.” This has created a more collaborative learning environment for all students and I am seeing greater gains in learning already.

8 thoughts on “Assessing in Mastery Learning: What we Have Learned

  1. I like the change! It might even leave room for alternative assessments. For instance, if the student can find a better way to explain models of the atom than the worksheet, they could do so.

  2. That is exactly what we are thinking. We are also trying to come up with more than one lab where students can have choices. Do option one OR option 2, etc.

  3. Less clutter is fantastic!! I was wondering though… do you write all those worksheets yourself, or did they come with your textbook?

  4. They are a culmination of all of my teaching career. Most were written by me or in collaboration with other teachers through the years.

  5. I love the way it is organized. I wonder though, do you grade them differently or is it still more or less a completion checklist as it was before; albeit one where they are much more cognisant of their objectives rather than a to do list.

  6. It is still a completion checklist. But they can now demonstrate mastery in more than one way. It used to be I wanted the whole worksheet done. Now: prove to me you know it and then you can move on.

  7. as a teacher of remedial classes and an administrator,the first word that came to my mind is awesome!asking the children what is the objective and let's work on it and achieved together is clarity.Thank you so much for sharing. @sjaafar

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