The Mastery Science system is designed to help you use a research-based approach which has been shown to increase students’ achievement. The belief behind mastery learning is that all students are not ‘more’ or ‘less able’ but instead some take longer to understand or need a different approach.
There are five components of mastery learning which have been found to be effective:
- Teach towards clearly defined mastery objectives
- Assess mastery and set a high pass mark e.g. 80%
- Then give students Review activities based on what they did not master
- At the same time, provide challenging Extend activities for students who did master
- Re-assess to give students another chance to show mastery
Mastery learning is essentially a) aligning the curriculum with teaching and assessment, and b) differentiating your teaching based on diagnostic assessment. The research indicates that more students reach the expected level of understanding.
This is our interpretation of what mastery objectives are (we co-designed the AQA Syllabus):
- To Know an Idea means being able to accurately recall each statement in bold in familiar situations and not show signs of misconceptions.
- To Apply an idea means being able to recognise the idea in an unfamiliar situation, and use relevant features of the idea to show understanding
- To Extend means going beyond Mastery and what was taught – using higher order thinking.
Apply and Extend are critical for success in future GCSE examinations, which award a lot of marks for applying knowledge and analysing problems.