Mastery Learning

Mastery Learning is an instructional method that presumes all children can learn if they are provided with the appropriate learning conditions. Specifically, mastery learning is a method whereby students are not advanced to a subsequent learning objective until they demonstrate proficiency with the current one.

Mastery learning curricula generally consist of discrete topics which all students begin together. Students who do not satisfactorily complete a topic are given additional instruction until they succeed. Students who master the topic early engage in enrichment activities until the entire class can progress together. Mastery learning includes many elements of successful tutoring and the independent functionality seen in high-end students. In a mastery learning environment, the teacher directs a variety of group-based instructional techniques, with frequent and specific feedback by using diagnostic, formative tests, as well as regularly correcting mistakes students make along their learning path.

Teachers evaluate students with criterion-referenced tests rather than norm-referenced tests.

Mastery Learning has nothing to do with content, merely on the process of mastering it, and is based on Benjamin Bloom's Learning for Mastery model, with refinements made by Block. Mastery learning may be implemented as teacher-paced group instruction, one-to-one tutoring, or self-paced learning with programmed materials. It may involve direct teacher instruction, cooperation with classmates, or independent learning. It requires well-defined learning objectives organized into smaller, sequentially organized units. Individualized instruction, has some elements in common with mastery learning, although it dispenses with group activities, in favor of allowing more able or more motivated students to progress ahead of others and maximizing teacher interaction with those students who need the most assistance.