Recently, we had a compelling discussion that centered around mastery learning. I posted an activity out of the Elements of Grading below, it generated some interesting comments.
What grade would you give this student?
Most use average and would probably give this student a 'D' or an 'F' due to the missing assignments. What if the 'A' was the final test? Maybe it took the student until number 10 to master the concept. In a majority of classrooms it only matters if a student gets the concept by a specific date. We know that students learn at different rates, some faster than others.
What if we focused solely on mastery and had systems in place to ensure mastery of concept? I don't live in a fantasy world, and understand that in a traditional school system this idea is not possible. If we truly believe that ALL students can learn then we need to do differently. Some students will need extra time out of the normal class time to reach mastery of the concept.
What if grading looked like this?
PLC's work to establish the guaranteed and viable curriculum. In every class we establish what students should know and be able to do (Powerstandards). We take those Powerstandards and develop great assessments to assess those standards. We agree that these 12-15 standards are what all students should know and be able to do. We develop a structure that supports the mastery of these concepts. Time would be available within the school day to ensure that ALL students work towards mastery. We provide struggling students with small focused groups that enable them to get the concept.
A visual of my thoughts below:
What have you done for me lately becomes the mantra. If we believe that all students can learn then to meet this belief we need to be innovative.