In Sal Khan’s phenomenal TED Talk Let’s Teach for Mastery – Not Test Scores, he illustrates the lack of focus on mastery in most classrooms with this metaphor:
To appreciate how absurd [teaching based on a pacing guide, not mastery] is, imagine if we did other things in our life that way. Say, home-building.
So we bring in the contractor and say, “We were told we have two weeks to build a foundation. Do what you can.”
So they do what they can. Maybe it rains. Maybe some of the supplies don’t show up. And two weeks later, the inspector comes, looks around, says, “OK, the concrete is still wet right over there, that part’s not quite up to code … I’ll give it an 80 percent.”
You say, “Great! That’s a C. Let’s build the first floor.”
He continues with this great metaphor, but I’ll stop there because the point is clear: it’s silly to have students move to the next topic or skill before they’ve mastered the one they’re on. With technology, we have tons of ways to ensure this mastery.
In Schoology, you can require students exceed a minimum assessment score prior to moving on to the upcoming content. And, if they don’t do well enough? Have them learn from their mistakes, get better, re-take the assessment and then move on.
Here’s how to do it, first in GIF form and then in step-by-step form.
- Go to the Materials Page for your course.
- Click Add Materials > Assessment.
- Create your Assessment.
- Include in the instructions a note about the minimum score and their ability to retake the assessment.
- Go to “Settings” inside of the assessment.
- Change the Attempt Limit to Unlimited (or some other greater than 1 option)
- Decide how you’d like it to be graded. I go with “highest score.”
- Turn on Submissions (if you’re ready)
- Go back to your materials page.
- Click on Options > Student Completion.
- Set up Student Completion for your pages and assignments.
- For the Assessment, Select “Member must score at least” and enter the minimum score you’d like students to obtain.