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