Consequences of Differentiated Mastery

  • Once students get the format, they are grateful for the freedom to choose how they learn and move through the course content.

  • The flexibility of the differentiated mastery format allows students to catch up from absences.

  • There is a dramatic increase in student pride and responsibility for learning and individual accountability.

  • There is a large increase in student awareness of their understanding of the material and readiness to move on.

  • There is an increased engagement in learning as students gain confidence that they can learn the material.


  • Having options in how they learn and individual accountability increases student participation.

  • Students feel respected in the classroom, which leads to higher motivation, a better work ethic, and greater appreciation for the material they are learning. The emphasis is on student learning, not teacher control.

  • There is more flexibility as kids choose what learning opportunities to do and how quickly they progress.

  • Can move faster if able, slower if needed.

  • Students are not left behind if they dont get it early on.

  • Once the lower-aptitude students get caught up with their foundational knowledge, which may require more time in the beginning, they will likely not need additional time for new concepts.

  • The gaps of knowledge between students at different levels decreases.

  • There is a growing sense of community as students are respected more, enjoy why they are in school (to learn and grow!), and have more time to develop supportive relationships with teachers since staff have more interactions with individual kids.
  • The teacher gets to know students more quickly.

  • There are more interactions with individual kids at the personal and academic level.

  • Better relationships with students from more and higher quality individual student interactions.

  • Teachers of necessity must prepare thoughtful sequences of learning well in advance to keep ahead of fast-movers. Quality of instruction naturally improves as a consequence.

  • After the first year it is much easier as considerably less time is needed as planning devolves mainly to fine-tuning.


That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the task itself becomes easier, but that our ability to perform it has improved. [Ralph Waldo Emerson]

  • The classroom is a little more messy as many types of learning are going on simultaneously.

  • The teacher is busier during the actual class period.

  • Grading is mainly done in class, so teachers can have more of a life outside the school day.

  • The teacher is comfortable with passing a student, knowing that they have actually learned the material.
  • Improved school climate.

  • Fewer discipline concerns.

  • Increased standardized test performance.


Things get worse under pressure.

  • Mastery class students significantly outperform those from traditional classes when tested for retention and understanding, with an increasingly greater gap after a course is ended.

  • Mastery learning complements standards-based learning as it holds students to a performance standard instead of simply exposing them to required content.

  • Teachers and students develop more of a community relationship from this respectful approach. The reduction in poor behavior allows administrators time for more positive pursuits.

  • Staff cohesiveness improves over time as does school pride in what this model accomplishes.


Nothing will be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.