Ben is a teacher in NC and he has always struggled with a feeling of not providing all his students with what they truly needed at the time they needed it. He is growing frustrated providing them mostly with a “one size fits all model” and he aspires to give students choice and the freedom to learn at their own pace and in their own way.
Does Ben's story sound similar to yours? Do you also want to include more choices in your classroom and give students more ownership of what they focus on at a given time, the pace at which they can master this competency and the ways they can demonstrate mastery?
If you feel inclined to answer yes to these questions, then you are on your way to building Mastery-Based Progressions within the constraints of your current learning community. Building Mastery-Based Progression implies:
- Giving students full ownership of their learning data as well as the set of competencies they should be able to master in your class
- Educating and empowering them to learn how to analyze this data to make informed decision regarding the what, the when and the how of their learning progression
- Creating personalized learning pathways allowing them to demonstrate mastery of a competency at their own pace and in multiple ways
- Supporting students as they progress through these pathways, by creating a differentiated system of interventions, going from 1:1 to small groups to whole groups
- Creating and Nurturing a space for regular reflection, goal setting and 1:1 coaching along the way
To learn more about the BetterLesson Mastery-Based Progressions Domain including a description of each of the elements, why it is important to engage in this work, and what success in this domain looks like, Click here.
While the 5 key steps above can feel overwhelming when tackled all at once, we at BetterLesson believe that it is absolutely possible and highly beneficial for teachers and students to tackle these steps one at a time, and to gradually move further along a Mastery Based Progressions continuum:
The following BetterLesson strategies are a great way to start supporting students and teachers in the direction of building and maximizing mastery based progressions:
- Give students ownership of their learning progression and their data by sharing with them a public Mastery Map and Standard-Based Peer Tutors system as well as a private Progress and Mastery Tracker
- Empower your students to be able to work on what they need the most, at their own pace and following a process that suits them best by making Hyperdoc Pathways to Mastery available to them, and supporting their progression with Data Review and Goal Setting Conferences
- Create the conditions for them to demonstrate mastery in multiple ways and at the pace that is right for them by trying strategies like Systems of Assessments to Demonstrate Mastery or Fill in the Gaps
It is vital to work in this MBP domain because the 21st century demands that students are flexible, critical thinkers, able to solve problems independently and collaboratively. The traditional model of teaching doesn’t feed this need. Students need to understand what is being asked of them and use the tools provided to meet these benchmarks. In this new model teachers are the facilitators of student learning, providing students with the necessary resources and supports to ensure success at each individual level.
Why with BetterLesson Coaches?
Shifting from whole class instruction and assessment to a system of personalized learning is straightforward, but not easy. The teacher must understand both how to break down content objectives into smaller, more manageable steps as well as how to guide students in shaping and tracking their learning.
BetterLesson coaches are well positioned to help you make this shift in practice. BetterLesson coaching is mastery based learning personified in that BL coaching is personalized to meet your individual needs and guide you towards your end goal. Like mastery based learning in the classroom, your BL coach will help you create and fine tune your goal and then collaborate to create a personalized path to guide you towards this goal.
So now it’s time for you to empower your students to progress at their own pace and to constantly challenge the limits of what they thought and you thought possible before. You can do this by taking small steps as you focus on incorporating the different steps toward a mastery based progression in your daily lesson planning. If you’d like some support, a BetterLesson Instructional Coach can help!