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In a mastery-based learning environment, students progress by demonstrating independent mastery of learning goals, or outcomes. Goals are transparent from the start. Feedback focuses on crucial next steps to achieve and deepen mastery of skills and content over time. 
Every MS 442 course has a set of learning outcomes, student-friendly “I can …” statements that students should be able confidently say once they have mastered the learning standards that are connected to that course.

Examples of Learning Outcomes:

“I can construct a table and look for patterns to solve a problem.”

“I can use evidence to support the causes and effect of climate change.”

  • Teachers determine whether a student has mastered a learning outcome by looking at their work on the assessments connected to that learning outcome. 

  • Student’s work on an assessment is rated with a mastery rating, depending on the evidence of growth that work provides.

  • When teachers have collected enough assessment data from a student (3+ assessments), we can publish a mastery conclusion for that student.

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  • We start the year under the assumption that students have “Not Yet” made growth toward mastery for our respective learning outcomes.

  • To distinguish a “Not Yet” rating from an “Approaching” rating on assessment feedback, we should ask, “What growth has my student made?”, and …

    • “What else does my student need to do to demonstrate mastery?” 

    • “What other resources does my student have to get to the “Meeting” level.

  • “Approaching” is not a “bad grade;” it honors growth.

For more details, please see this presentation on Mastery Based Grading and Assessments at MS 442.

MS 442 is part of the Mastery Collaborative, 40+ public middle and high schools across New York City who share their expertise to better implement and maintain Mastery Based Grading regimes at their respective learning centers.

We encourage you to take a look at the resources on Mastery Collaborative's website, including their explanation of: What is Mastery?  They have a great library of videos here that may answer some of your questions, including the one below from MS 442.
Also, read this article from 2014 about MS442's Mastery Based Grading system. 


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