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Mastery Learning

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Education That Makes Sense

QSI utilizes the Mastery Learning model when teaching students in our schools.  It is a well-researched practice with strong evidence for being highly effective where students learn more information than traditional school methods which receive a percentage grade to pass and move on. Mastery Learning is not a new concept but is starting to become the model for schools looking to reach all students in a more engaging and meaningful way. The idea is simple. In a traditional school, students can pass their courses and miss 40%, 30%, 20%, 10%, and even 5% of the course content. In Mastery Learning schools, we care about the students mastering 100% of the course content.  We believe that these gaps in learning, if left unchecked, turn into deficits, difficulties, and frustrations for learning in the future. 

Instruction at the Appropriate Level

We believe that success builds upon success. When students master all the learning objectives in one unit, they move onto the next unit. Learning at a level that is too easy may lead to boredom, and learning at a level that is too difficult often leads to frustrations. When students come to a QSI school for the first time, they will take placement assessments in mathematics, reading, and writing. After our initial placement assessment, it may be necessary to do follow up assessments. This process helps the school know just the right placement for new students to be in the right place for successful learning. Teachers use a variety of instructional strategies to ENGAGE all students as they explore and master the content within each unit.

Assessment FOR Learning

Traditional education systems often identify the gaps in knowledge without any plan or process to fill them. Mastery learning adheres to the principle that students must demonstrate proficiency or mastery in knowledge, content, and skills. If a student is not able to demonstrate mastery, he or she is provided with additional and differentiated support to first re-learn the material and is then reassessed on it. This cycle continues, similar to one-on-one tutoring until the learner has achieved true mastery. In this way, QSI uses assessment FOR learning, rather than just assessment OF learning.

Time is a Resource

Most education programs have some system of separating students based on academic achievement. It is acceptable for most school systems to teach all students the same things, to give identical exams to assess student learning, and then to observe, record, and report the difference in student achievement. In this scenario, performance becomes the focused variable. In mastery learning, education is not time based. Time becomes a resource and is used with the intention of increasing all student performance.

Time is not an indicator OF success but a tool FOR success. As such, time becomes one of the most valuable tools for students and teachers. All students are different and enter the classroom with varying levels of language fluency, emotional intelligence, work ethic, curiosity, aptitude for their studies, and degrees of content comprehension. It stands to reason that not all students will be able to reach a high standard of performance at the same time. As a result of removing time constraints, more students are able to demonstrate proficiency and achievement at higher levels throughout the year. As the quality and quantity of time work together to provide a positive learning environment, there is a shift in the perception of time. It is now used as a tool FOR learning that simultaneously develops and promotes a growth mindset. This shift in mindset leads to a solid foundation of learning and a healthy perspective of success that will benefit students throughout their education and careers.

Mastery Learning FAQ

First page of the PDF file: Masteryinside
First page of the PDF file: Masteryoutside

There's no room for rigidity in the Mastery Learning classroom. Teachers use assessment to feed their instruction. They clarify what they want students to learn and then differentiate instruction to fit the needs of each and every learner. While remaining flexible, both teachers and students are held accountable to high standards.
QSI Educator

“When students work in a Mastery Learning environment, they are able to work at their own pace, be passionate about their learning, and ultimately be successful. Mastery Learning allows all students to succeed, not just the students who know how to play the game of school.” 
QSI Educator