My professional development world is a little overwhelming right now. I’ve been doing a lot of with the Mastery Collaborative, an amazing DOE group that is working to learn about what mastery practices are going on in New York City and help schools develop mastery learning programs on their own. I feel like I’ve been at the Math for America offices every other week doing one thing or another and last weekend I, along with another MfA Master Teacher and Mastery Collaborative member presented our Mastery systems to STEM Teachers NYC. Holy PD!
All of this work has got me thinking about mastery based learning. I’m thinking about the work I do in my classroom and what other teachers are doing as well. The first thing is- am I assessing mastery on the right stuff?! My mastery system is very content focused. I’m tracking the major topics of an algebra 1 curriculum which leads to the Common Core Regents exam. Almost every other teacher I’ve spoken with about mastery is assessing more general skills like “ability to represent functions graphically” in stead of my topic “graphing linear functions”. I’m not sure if my system is a more in depth version of the the more general skills? Or if I switched to general skills students would be assessed on those skills more times over the course of the year and possibly gain a better understanding of their growth.
So I guess the question is- What are the most important things in our classes that we want to have hard data to show our students are mastering them?
I like my content focused topics. But I also want to include more general skills that incorporate the mathematical practices. The question is, as always, how to do that and when can I find the time to make this happen!?