The Value of Hard Deadlines in Mastery Learning | Jon Bergmann | 5 Min Read

April 19, 2022

The premise of Mastery Learning is that students progress through content at their “own pace.” If a student struggles with one objective in the curriculum, in theory, they stay in that objective until they master it. That sounds well and good, but my guess is that like me, you have found that giving students deadlines helps them get actual work done. If students can choose their own pace, then you worry some won’t have any pace. So if this fear is making you hesitate to implement Mastery Learning, I have good news for you. You definitely will be holding kids to a pacing calendar, and it won’t be a nightmare to manage.  

The issue of pacing leads to what I believe are the two biggest hurdles to implementing a Mastery Learning Classroom. If you don’t solve these two problems, you might as well not try Mastery Learning. The good news is that these two problems can be solved relatively easily, though it takes significant planning. Secondarily, solving one typically solves the others.  The two biggest challenges are: 

  • Students Who Fall Behind
  • Managing students who are working at vastly different mastery levels in the curriculum
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Jon Bergmann

Jon Bergmann is one of the pioneers of the Flipped Class Movement. Jon is leading the worldwide adoption of flipped learning by working with governments, schools, corporations, and education non-profits. Jon is coordinating or guiding flipped learning initiatives around the globe including China, Taiwan, Korea, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, the Middle East, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Canada, South America, and the United States. Jon is the author of 10 books including the bestselling book: Flip Your Classroom which has been translated into 10 languages. He has been an educator since 1986. He has served as a middle and high school science teacher, the lead technology facilitator for a school district in the Chicago suburbs, as well as a consultant/public speaker. He currently is teaching science and leading staff development at Houston Christian High School.