The Challenges and Opportunities of Mastery Grading

Submitted By:
Didi Anofienem, Viewpoint School, Calabasas, CA

How to Set Up Mastery-Based Grading in Your Classroom by Kareem Farah
Cult of Pedagogy, March 7, 2021

According to Kareem Farah, mastery grading is an essential tool that could transform the classroom and accelerate student learning. Farah proposes that mastery grading is a unique pedagogy that will be particularly useful in filling deficiencies in student learning by encouraging students to take personal ownership of their learning through repeated practice and revision. Farah cites research that found decreased variability in aptitude between students in classrooms where mastery grading had been implemented. Other research found that mastery grading leads to long-term retention in learning, encouraging students to develop competence and self-awareness that translate directly to their future experiences in the real world. Farah acknowledges that mastery grading presents challenges—student frustration with alternative grading practices, the unwieldiness of traditional gradebooks, and the potential for educators to have an increased grading load. With the pandemic still a major concern but school years proceeding as normally as possible, Farah believes that educators have a valuable opportunity to transform their classrooms into spaces where substantial student learning that applies to their future educational careers is encouraged and achieved.

Teaching Practice