mastery learning

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  • 1. Mastery LearningDaniela Vin

2. What is it? It breaks subject matter and learning contentinto units with clearly specified objectiveswhich are pursued until they are achieved. Learners work through each block of contentin a series of sequential steps. 3. Students must demonstrate a highlevel of success on tests, typically atabout the 80% level, beforeprogressing to new content. Mastery learning is about howstudents navigate through exercisesand assignments.80% 4. Most currentapplications stem fromthe work of BenjaminS. Bloom whoconsidered howteachers might adaptthe most powerfulaspects of tutoring andindividualizedinstruction to improvestudent learning ingeneral educationclassrooms. 5. Bloom suggested thatalthough students varywidely in their learningrates and modalities,if teachers couldprovide the necessarytime and appropriatelearning conditions,nearly all studentscould reach a high levelof achievement. 6. He observed that teachers' traditional practicewas to organize curriculum content into units andthen check on students' progress at the end ofeach unit. These checks on learning progress, would bemuch more valuable if they were used as part ofthe teaching and learning process to providefeedback on students' individual learningdifficulties and then to prescribe specificremediation activities. 7. In traditionalclassrooms, studentsprogress through theclass regardless oftheir level ofachievement. In masterylearning classrooms,students mustdemonstrate masteryof the material beforemoving on to the nexttopic. 8. Achievement distribution for students in traditional,mastery learning, and individual tutoring instruction.Mastery learning results in one standard deviationabove the average of the control class (the averagemastery learning student was above 84% of thestudents in the control class). 9. Mastery learning can be contrasted with otherapproaches which require pupils to movethrough the curriculum at a pre-determinedpace. Teachers seek to avoid unnecessaryrepetition by regularly assessing knowledgeand skills. 10. Those who do not reach the required level areprovided with additional tuition, peer support,small group discussions, or homework so thatthey can reach the expected level. Mastery learning has a long history goingback to Blooms work in the 1960s, thoughaspects of it resonate with more recentdevelopments. 11. How effective is it? A number of meta-analyses indicate that masterylearning approaches are effective, leading to anadditional five months progress over the courseof a school year compared to traditionalapproaches. 12. Unusually however,the effects of masterylearning tend to clusterat two points withstudies showing eitherlittle or no impact or animpact of up to sixmonths gain.This split and widevariation implies thatmaking masterylearning workeffectively ischallenging. 13. It appears to be effective when students work ingroups or teams and take responsibility forsupporting each others progress. It also appears to be important that a high level ofsuccess is set. When pupils work at their own pace, as opposedto working as a part of group or whole class, itappears to be much less effective. 14. It may also be more effective when used as anoccasional or additional teaching strategy as theimpact decreases for longer programmes of over12 weeks or so. Schools may wish to consider using masterylearning for particularly challenging topics orconcepts. 15. Lower attaining students may gain more from thisstrategy than high attaining students, so masterylearning appears to be a promising strategy fornarrowed gaps. It should be noted that teachers need to plancarefully for how to manage the time of studentswho make progress more quickly. 16. Bibliography http://blog.coursera.org/post/50352075945/5-tips-learn-more-effectively-in-class-with-mastery http://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/toolkit/mastery-learning/ http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct10/vol68/num02/Lessons-of-Mastery-Learning.aspx

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