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Mastery learning is a teaching style centered on the importance of low-stakes questions and work designed to determine what the student knows, corrective feedback designed to remedy misunderstandings, and incrementally achieving mastery on earlier topics before moving on to advanced ones. Popular since the 1960s, mastery learning recognizes that individual students require different amounts and kinds of instruction and assessment in order to master a topic. Instead of providing the same instruction and practice questions to each student and moving on regardless of whether the student has demonstrated mastery, instructors implementing a mastery learning approach provide students with immediate corrective feedback on how to improve and additional opportunities for growth.
Alta implements mastery learning in just this way: what students see while completing alta assignments differs from student to student, and which and how many questions a student sees is tailored individually in an effort to provide the help a student needs to reach mastery, whether that’s more practice, additional instruction, or going back and filling in gaps in prerequisite knowledge. Students complete assignments in alta when they reach mastery of the content -- not when they have answered a fixed number of questions. In the context of mastery learning, assignments are not just grades meant to assess how much a student knows. Assignments in alta are an important part of the learning process. They are designed to behave like a tutor, incorporating real-time feedback, and explanations to help students learn the material as they work through an assignment.
Students will complete (master) an assignment once alta is confident they are prepared to do well on an upcoming quiz or test covering all of the target Learning Objectives within that Assignment. For example, if there are three Learning Objectives in an Assignment, a student will not master the Assignment until alta is confident that they are proficient with all of the material within those three Learning Objectives.