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Mastery learning (or, as it was initially called, "learning for mastery") is an instructional strategy and educational philosophy, first formally proposed by Benjamin Bloom in 1968. Mastery learning maintains that students must achieve a level of mastery (e.g., 90% on a knowledge test) in prerequisite knowledge before moving forward to learn subsequent information. If a student does not achieve mastery on the test, they are given additional support in learning and reviewing the information and then tested again. This cycle continues until the learner accomplishes mastery, and they may then move on to the next stage. Mastery learning methods suggest that the focus of instruction should be the time required for different students to learn the same material and achieve the same level of mastery. This is very much in contrast with classic models of teaching, which focus more on differences in students' ability and where all students are given approximately the same amount of time to learn and the same set of instructions. In mastery learning, there is a shift in responsibilities, so that student's failure is more due to the instruction and not necessarily lack of ability on his or her part. Therefore, in a mastery learning environment, the challenge becomes providing enough time and employing instructional strategies so that all students can achieve the same level of learning. Definition Mastery learning is a set of group-based, individualized, teaching and learning strategies based on the premise that students will achieve a high level of understanding in a given domain if they are given enough time. Motivation The motivation for mastery learning comes from trying to reduce achievement gaps for students in average school classrooms. During the 1960s John B. Carroll and Benjamin S. Bloom pointed out that, if students are normally distributed with respect to aptitude for a subject and if they are provided uniform instruction (in terms of quality and learning time), then achievement level at completion of the subject is also expected to be normally distributed. This can be illustrated as shown below: Mastery Learning approaches propose that, if each learner were to receive optimal quality of instruction and as much learning time as they require, then a majority of students could be expected to attain mastery. This situation would be represented as follows: In many situations educators preemptively use the normal curve for grading students. Bloom was critical of this usage, condemning it because it creates expectation by the teachers that some students will naturally be successful while others will not. Bloom defended that, if educators are effective, the distribution of achievement could and should be very different from the normal curve. Bloom proposed Mastery Learning as a way to address this. He believed that by using his approach, the majority of students (more than 90 percent) would achieve successful and rewarding learning. As an added advantage, Mastery Learning was also thought to create more positive interest and attitude towards the subject learned if compared with usual classroom methods. Related terms Individualized instruction has some elements in common with mastery learning, although it dispenses with group activities in favor of allowing more capable or more motivated students to progress ahead of others while maximizing teacher interaction with those students who need the most assistance. Bloom's 2 Sigma Problem is an educational phenomenon observed where the average student tutored one-to-one (using mastery learning techniques) performed two standard deviations better than students who learn via conventional instructional methods. Competency-based learning is a framework for the assessment of learning based on predetermined competencies. It draws inspiration from mastery learning. History The idea of learning for mastery is not new. In the 1920s there were at least two attempts to produce mastery in students' learning: the Winnetka Plan, by Carleton Washburne and associates, and another approach by Henry C. Morrison, at the University of Chicago Laboratory School. Both these projects provided school situations where mastery of particular learning tasks - rather than time spent - was the central theme. While these ideas were popular for a while, they faded due primarily to the lack of technologies that could sustain a successful implementation.The idea of mastery learning resurfaced in the late 1950s and early 1960s as a corollary of programmed instruction, a technology invented by B.F. Skinner to improve teaching. Underlying programmed instruction was the idea that the learning of any behavior, no matter how complex, rested upon the learning of a sequence of less-complex component behaviors.Around that same time, John B. Carroll was working on his "Model of School Learning". This was a conceptual paradigm which outlined the major factors influencing student success in school learning, indicating also how these factors interacted. Carroll's model stemmed from his previous work with foreign language learning. He found that a student's aptitude for a language predicted not only the level to which he learned in a given time, but also the amount of time he required to learn to a given level. Carroll then suggests that aptitudes are actually a way to measure the amount of time required to learn a task up to a certain level (under ideal instructional conditions). So Carroll's model is actually suggesting that, if each student was allowed the time they needed to learn to some level, then he could be expected to attain that level.Later in the 1960s Benjamin Bloom and his graduate students were researching individual differences in school learning. They observed that teachers displayed very little variation in their instructional practices and yet, there was a lot of variation in student's achievements. Bloom used Carroll's conceptual model to create his own working model of Mastery Learning. Bloom realized that, if aptitudes were predictive of the rate at which a student can learn (and not necessarily the level to which), it should be possible to fix the degree of learning expected to some mastery level and then systematically manipulate the variables in Carroll's model such that all or almost all students attained that level. Also in the 1960s, Fred S. Keller was collaborating with colleagues developing his own instructional methods of Mastery Learning. Keller's strategies were based on the ideas of reinforcement as seen in operant conditioning theories. Keller formally introduced his teaching method, Personalized System of Instruction (PSI) - sometimes referred to as Keller Plan), in his 1967 paper, "Engineering personalized instruction in the classroom".From the late 1960s to the early 1980s, there was a surge of research on both Keller's and Bloom's instruction methods. Most of these studies showed that mastery learning has a positive effect on achievem.... Discover the Self Mastery popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Self Mastery books.

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