“There are always learning gaps!” says a teacher of one of our most diligent partner schools. Every teacher tries his/her best at teaching the concept, all the steps are meticulously followed: framing the lesson, detailed instructions, hands-on learning, class tests– all to no avail. There are always learning gaps and with the strict schedule to follow, teachers can’t do much about it. So, what’s the solution? Building a system of learning where misconceptions are targeted and worked upon before moving onto next topic: Mastery learning.
So what is mastery learning? The concept is simple: Students master concepts and skills before going onto other learning. How do you know they mastered it? You give them tests. If they do not reach mastery, then they go back and study and take the test again until they pass it. Benjamin Bloom, of Bloom’s Taxonomy fame, came up with mastery learning in 1971.
“I had noticed that because lots of difficult concepts in one chapter, a large portion of students had not mastered some of the real basics using traditional methods. I also discovered that some of the basic concept that they should have learned the year before had not been learned” says the class 9th Math teacher.
In the Classroom
After completing the chapter she took the Open Door’s learning test. After the test, she got detailed report highlighting the major misconceptions in the chapter. “Even after teaching the chapter thoroughly only 47.8% students of my class had truly mastered the concept.”
After teaching the topic:-
“The first thing I did was to schedule my class to clear the misconceptions. I noted down the misconception areas, questions most students failed to answer correctly and name of students I needed to pay special attention. I took two remediation class and result was surprising, 77.2% students had achieved mastery and 9.5% were close to mastery.”
After Re-teaching the topic:-
”After a completion of mastery cycle, the students get certificates of highest improvement and highest score. Students are motivated to achieve mastery in Maths and their confidence level has increased tremendously since Open Door was introduced in our school”
In a Mastery Learning setting, students get specific feedback about their learning progress at regular intervals throughout the learning of the concept. These feedbacks give students and teachers to work on misconceptions and they get second chance to perform well.