PROBLEM SCENARIOMr. Vallano has just administered the midtermexamination in his college prep math course andis very surprised and disappointed in the factthat his students have done so poorly. Althoughthis is the first time he has formally assessed hisstudents this semester, prior to the exam he wasconfident that most of them were learning the
skills he wanted them to acquire. Indeed,whenever he had asked them questions in class,at least a few of his students were able to comeup with the right answers. Moreover, most of thehomework assignments the students had handedin contained very few errors. Yet, many of thestudents performed very poorly on the exam;
in fact, quite a few of them were unable toanswer the questions covering the basic skillsMr. Vallano had taught at the beginning of thesemester. Now Mr. Vallano wonders what wentwrong. Could he have implemented hisinstruction in a manner that would have enabledhim to spot and correct these problems sooner?
The Problem Scenario is an example of a Traditional Approach to Instruction and is shown in Figure 1. The teacher presents a unit of instruction to the entire class and moves on to the next unit, where the cycle is repeated.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION A. Traditional Approach to Instruction – it has been labelled group instruction Figure 1 Present a unit of instruction Assess all Assess all the the students students Present a unit of instruction
RESULT A few students do very well; A few do very poorly; and Most of them end up somewhere in the middle.
B. Individualized Instruction In recent years various attempts have beenmade to tailor instruction to the individual abilitiesof students. Most of these efforts have resulted ininstruction called individualized instruction.
DIFFERENT WAYS TO INDIVIDUALIZE INSTRUCTION Allow each students to proceed at their own pace. Provide different instructional materials for different students. Allowing students to work on different objectives.
RESULT Serious classroom management problems. Students have the strong desire to work together, whether it is in a small group or in a large group under the direction of a teacher.SOLUTION Alternative approaches have been proposed, one of the best known of these is the Mastery Learning Approach.
CHAPTER OBJECTIVEAt the end of the discussion: Students will be able to describe how to employ a mastery learning approach in a given learning situation.
MASTERY LEARNING APPROACHThe Mastery Learning is based on the philosophythat all children can become achievers if taughtat a level of their own proficiency, andencouraged to progress at a rate of their ability tomaster clearly defined units of learning. Masterylearning proposes that all children can learnwhen provided with the appropriate learningconditions in the classroom.
Example of a Mastery Learning Approach Enrichment Activities Yes Did Formative students Unit 1 Assess- achieve Unit 2 ment mastery? No Remedial Formative Class Assessment
The Mastery Learning Approach It is an instructional philosophy based on the idea of giving students more than one chance to demonstrate mastery of content and skills. In a Mastery Learning classroom, as in a traditional classroom, students receive instruction on a topic and then take a test to determine their level of understanding. But thats where the similarity ends.
In a Mastery Learning classroom, the teacher scores that assessment and determines who has mastered the content and who needs more help. Students who have mastered the material are given "enrichment" opportunities, while those who have not mastered it receive additional instruction on the topic.
After a day or two, a retest is administered to the group who did not demonstrate mastery. Most of the students who didnt master it the first time are able to achieve mastery on the second test. The teacher then proceeds to present the next unit of instruction to the entire class , and the same cycle of activities begins.
Every time you begin a new unit of instruction, you can feel confident that your students have mastered the concepts needed to embark on new learning.
BENJAMIN BLOOM Mastery learning, as a theoretical approach, goes back to the work of Benjamin Bloom in 1968, who came up with the “Learning for Mastery” (LFM) method. Bloom was interested in how he could improve traditional classroom instruction by examining what it was about individual tutoring that made it an effective instructional approach.
SUMMARY- MASTERY LEARNING: Provides a model of instruction that is effective for a wide range of students; Reduces the academic spread between the slower and faster students without slowing down the faster students; The skills and concepts have been internalized and put to use in other areas of the curriculum; It is an alternative to the unsuccessful traditional methods of teaching and learning.
SUMMARY Mastery learning is not a new method of instruction. It is based on the concept that all students can learn when provided with conditions appropriate to their situation. Although, Mastery learning will not solve all the complex problems facing educators.
Nevertheless, careful attention to theelements of mastery learning allows educators atall levels to make great strides in their efforts toreduce the variation in student achievement,close achievement gaps, and help all children tolearn excellently.
“What is important is that all students canlearn and grow, and no one is left behind.”