After getting some excellent new ideas during a conversation with Brian Gervase (an incredible educator in CA), we developed a new mastery learning framework and presented it to our administration. We are grateful that they decided to support us in our new approach, particularly since it is considerably different from a traditional approach to instruction, assessments, and grading.
Although there are several changes on the horizon, here is the most fundamental of them all:
In other words, we are no longer trying to fit a mastery learning approach into a traditional grading system. To earn credit for the course, students must demonstrate proficiency in all of the course's standards. How long this takes simply depends upon the students' pace.
For example, if a student demonstrates proficiency in all of the World History Semester 2 standards by May, they then start Brian's US history class. The student earns full credit for my course, and gets a jump start on Brian's. On the other hand, if a student does not complete the course by mid-June, they will have an incomplete and not receive credit until they do. This may be done over the summer or next fall.
We will surely face many obstacles and setbacks along the way, but I truly believe that this is the way students should be LEARNING in school. To borrow a quote from New Haven's High School in the Community:
"Time is the Variable. Learning is the Constant."
My goal is to contribute a post each week reflecting upon our new approach here at PHS. I will be sharing our strategies, resources, failures and successes. If you ever have questions or comments about our experiences, or could offer some advice and suggestions, please post them in the comments section below. Also feel free to reach out to me directly, I always look forward to connecting and learning with fellow teachers who share my passion for education!